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Dear Hotmail: I won't take you seriously until you cut this crap out

I'm a GMail user. I've been a GMail user for years, and I'm not likely to stop using it any time soon. I was, however, excited by all the improvements in Microsoft's latest update to Hotmail. Competition is good, after all -- and a better Hotmail should lead to improvements and innovation in other webmail apps.

When reading about the changes you probably noticed a number of bloggers talking about how Microsoft was taking aim at GMail with the new features -- specifically Office Web Apps integration. But there's one failing which prevents me from considering Hotmail to be a real alternative to GMail. What is it?

Those ridiculous, Incredimail-esque footer advertisements.

If you want me to take Hotmail seriously, Microsoft, stop modifying my email messages that way. It's one thing to stamp a simple "sent from my iPhone/Blackberry/Hotmail account" tagline, but tacking on a link to a contest entry? I'm not certain it happens on every single message, but I sent half a dozen to myself while doing up this post and they all contained the link in my screencap.

I certainly couldn't use Hotmail for professional comminquées with those add-ons. "I'm contacting you to conduct business in via email... and by the way, you should totally check out the awesome, free prizes you may already have won!" No thanks.

Much as I sometimes dislike the text ads cluttering up my GMail inbox, they're a thousand times more tolerable than promotional add-ons to my sent mail items. At least GMail thinks the body of my email message is mine and not theirs to modify (however subtly).

Average users might be fine with these insertions, but I have a feeling that more tech-savvy types will find them every bit as bothersome as I do.

Tags: ads, advertisements, advertisiing, fail, footer, gmail, hotmail