Hotmail’s time has passed
Do you remember when admitting you had a hotmail account was akin to fessing up that you were an avid porn follower? Just the name itself had those associations and you never wanted your friends to know you actually had a hotmail account. Your friends got your real e-mail addy, never that “so and so @hotmail.com” reference. You didn’t want them thinking less of you because you couldn’t find a legitimate mail host. Times have changed, but the “junk” mail association hasn’t. Hotmail may be trying to upgrade it’s brand by switching to the Outlook theme, but the games the same. There are no qualifications to make a hotmail account, just point and click. That’s all fine, but they would pretend to be legitimate and that kinda grinds my gears.
I never used hotmail to contact anyone I knew. I never gave out a hotmail addy to anyone I hoped would respect me. I used it for online stuff that (in a later or more sober time) I could delete and move away from with no permanent scar to my name or reputation. Hotmail has always been the equivalent of a brown paper bag around a cheap bottle of wine for me – I knew I wanted these contacts but I also knew I didn’t want them to come close to home, MY home. It worked for 13 years; all those second thoughts were safely couched in my hotmail account.
Recently, it would appear that my old and barely trusted hotmail account has been hacked. You’d think it wouldn’t much bother me, I had so little regard for the process that losing the account would seem a minor travail upon the much beaten internet path. And that may be so. But – it was MY account and the hoops that “Microsoft Support” made me jump through to recover it were insulting, demeaning and a tad Hitleresque! I had a cellphone number that was supposed to be a verifying aspect, but it wasn’t. I had a security question that was supposed to ensure I would be able to recover the account, but it didn’t. It came down to filling in a form that left no room for anything but e-mail addresses I don’t remember and contacts I barely had time for to begin with. It asked for past passwords which I did my best to provide, but really – unless you write them down – your passwords are like clouds, they skid by and then move over the horizon. If you are like me, you remember your last password, because that is the only important one!
I know I lied like a sidewalk when I created the account, and now I am glad I did. If my account was hacked I am glad I kept it at arm’s length, I would not want anyone knowing the information I have put into my legitimate e-mail accounts. Everyone lies on the net, it is a form of self-preservation. And yes, those lies will preclude you from returning to an account UNLESS you take the time to sprinkle some truth here and there and validate when prompted. I validated my hotmail account. It didn’t help.
I crashed against “Microsoft Support” so hard I thought I had landed in the middle of the pack at some roller derby event. I gave them everything I had and mentioned I had received 3 reset codes through my current cellphone. I answered my security question at least a dozen times. I did not beg cause I just don’t do begging, but I appealed to their better nature. Seems they don’t have one! Keep in mind that this was a little used, rarely logged into account but it is being guarded like Fort Knox. Mind you, it is being guarded from the owner of the account; I wonder where all this security was when it got hacked.
The bottom line is hotmail’s time has passed. There are hundreds of free mail services out there, find them, use them. Sign up with your provider. Navigate away from Hotmail (or Outlook as they now wish to be called, even they know how seedy hotmail sounds!). If you invest years into a site and it refuses to recognize that, it is time ill wasted. Find a mail service that responds to your needs; that personally recognizes you as a user and that avoids the anonymous “support” train that Microsoft glorifies. Find a service that cares about you and will work with you if you somehow get locked out of your account. Find a service that is actually a service, and not an organization that splats it’s numbers down on paper to sell more shares, but never once thinks of the people behind those numbers. Stay away from hotmail. Do yourselves a favour and check into non-microsoft products and services. They don’t care about you and those new struggling companies lauching better products and services will!
Hotmail? Nah – not even luke warm!