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Hotmail is one of the largest (if not the largest) email providers in the world. Windows Live Hotmail has over 355 GrayMailmillion active email users. It’s no wonder they are continuously looking at ways to reduce spam and help their users reduce unwanted email.

Here are a couple of interesting facts from Hotmail:

  1. Microsoft gets about 8 billion messages every day, delivering about 2.5 billion messages into the inboxes of customers. That means they are filtering out about 5.5 billion messages.
  2. Of the 2.5 billion messages that get delivered, they know that about 110 million messages are spam. So roughly 5% of delivered mail is spam. They want to improve these numbers!

It’s no wonder it has become harder and harder to reach the inbox.

What is graymail?

According to Hotmail's blog, Graymail refers to those messages in your inbox that are unwanted, but that aren't unsolicited. Common types of graymail include newsletters, social networking notifications, and alerts.

The “right” way to handle graymail is not so black and white; different recipients will disagree on whether or not a given message is spam. In fact, it's neither the content of the message nor the sender of the message that best determines whether or not the message is wanted; rather, it's your own relationship to the content or to the sender that determines whether or not you want to see the message in your inbox. What is perhaps most interesting is that your opinion on whether a particular e-mail is spam can actually change over time. (Advertisements for TVs are annoying until you're looking for a new TV.)

How is Microsoft dealing with this type of mail? They have come up with new features that help customers.

  • Newsletter Category – Hotmail will automatically categorize newsletters. So far, they say they are about 95% accurate in identifying newsletters!
  • One-Click Unsubscribe – unsubscribe immediately from a newsletter, all handled through Hotmail
  • Scheduled Cleanup – keep only the latest message from a given sender and delete messages as they get old. This will be done for email messages such as newsletters that come frequently.

What does this mean for real estate sales and marketing professionals sending mass email to Hotmail addresses?

It really means that blasting email out to anyone and everyone in your database will become even less effective than ever before. Growing a true opted-in list of email recipients who are actively engaged is the way to go. Monitor who is opening and clicking on links within your emails – if they aren’t responding or taking action, maybe it’s time for another method of communication!

Read the complete article about Hotmail's changes here.

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