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Thousands fall for Hotmail prank
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Did You Fall for the Hotmail prank
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 100% 9
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Total Votes : 9
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Sun May 21, 2006 5:01 pm Reply and quote this post

Take this story: "MSN 'to charge user fee'" says the headline, and for a few weeks it has steadily moved up the ranks of the BBC daily statistics. On Sunday it was the most-read business story, and on Monday and Tuesday it featured in the top five.

The hitch: It was written five years ago - on 25 February 2001.

Back then the BBC reported comments made by a Microsoft executive, who said the company was considering introducing fees for its free Hotmail service.

It was one year after the dotcom crash and everybody, even mighty Microsoft, was pondering how to make some money on the internet.

Full BBC News Story:

See the Original Story here:

Unfortunately many people failed to spot clear signs that this was an old story.

... and MSN's Hotmail page now.

For starters, all our news stories have a timestamp - between the red BBC banner and the story headline.

And there are two more obvious give-aways:

Our website looks quite different today, because it had two redesigns since the MSN story was published. We use a different navigation, colour scheme and it is also a third wider, because most people have larger computer screens
Then there is Hotmail itself. Our old story features a little screen shot of the hotmail front page - five years ago. Hotmail users might notice that their log-in screen looks quite different these days
But as with all things spam and scam, some people forward first and ask questions later.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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Wed May 24, 2006 6:16 pm Reply and quote this post
I get loads of those freakin spam letters..
Contributed by Jack, iVirtua Members
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Wed May 24, 2006 10:13 pm Reply and quote this post
I never fall for anything and I don't belive everything I hear either.
Contributed by Thomas Lohse, iVirtua Ultimate Contributor
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Thu May 25, 2006 5:04 pm Reply and quote this post
Yeh those spam emails pissed me off, Its not as if MSN would send out a large chain mail for christs sake :S
Contributed by applet1, Guest
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Thu May 25, 2006 5:20 pm Reply and quote this post
it is a form of viral advertising, it may have originated from somebody in Microsoft's camp.

It wouldn't be the first time Microsoft has used dirty tactics to get out on top.

Contributed by Gprime, iVirtua Recognised Member
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Fri May 26, 2006 1:51 am Reply and quote this post
i think a person who fall for it need to read a book PC for dummy's , email for dummys ect ect ect , since everyone all over the world with an internet connection knows by now what spam is
Contributed by yuna, iVirtua Ultimate Contributor
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Fri May 26, 2006 4:11 pm Reply and quote this post
if you're dumb enough to read an idiot's guide to email, you will still fall for the prank
Contributed by Gprime, iVirtua Recognised Member
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Sun May 28, 2006 1:07 pm Reply and quote this post
I always get this crap too.  I just delete is as soon as I read the first line.  Or if I already know what it is, I'll delete it right away.  Same goes with chain letters =\.
Contributed by carnageX, iVirtua Active Contributor
1886 iVirtua Loyalty Points • View ProfileSend Private MessageBack to Top

Sun May 28, 2006 5:45 pm Reply and quote this post
I delete most "FW's", but yes, it is Viral Marketing, and it is an excellent way of marketing I must say! A good collection of Viral Marketing is at
It has to be innovative, original, simple and can be a Pass-along, Incentivised viral, undercover, "Edgy Gossip/Buzz marketing"  or Anonymous matching.

See here:
Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that seek to exploit pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, through viral processes similar to the spread of an epidemic. It is word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it harnesses the network effect of the Internet and can be very useful in reaching a large number of people rapidly.

Viral marketing is sometimes used to describe some sorts of Internet-based stealth marketing campaigns, including the use of blogs, seemingly amateur web sites, and other forms of astroturfing to create word of mouth for a new product or service. Often the ultimate goal of viral marketing campaigns is to generate media coverage via "offbeat" stories worth many times more than the campaigning company's advertising budget.

The term "viral advertising" refers to the idea that people will pass on and share interesting and entertaining content; this is often sponsored by a brand, which is looking to build awareness of a product or service. These viral commercials often take the form of funny video clips, or interactive Flash games, images, and even text...

...The most difficult task for any company is to acquire and retain a large customer base. Through the use of the internet and the effects of e-mail advertising, the business-to-consumer (B2C) efforts have a greater impact than many other tools of marketing. Viral marketing is a technique that avoids the annoyance of spam mail; it encourages users of a specific product or service to tell a friend. This would be a positive word-of-mouth recommendation. One of the most successful perspectives found to achieve this customer base is the integrated marketing communication IMC perspective.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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