Microsoft has stopped accepting mail at its abuse@ email address, in violation of one of the fundamental standards which applies to the internet.
With the internet being built on a loose set of protocols, the founders have set down certain standards in documents, known as an RFC or a request for comment.
Realising that reporting spam is a thankless job, in RFC 2142 it is specified that users could report abuse originating from a given domain name to email@example.com.
RFC 2142 lays down mailbox names for common services, roles and functions.
The address, abuse@, is assumed to be active at any domain. But this is no longer the case with Microsoft.
Email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org results in the following form reply:
"Thank you for contacting Microsoft. Your e-mail will be handled by a Customer Service Representative within approximately 24 hours. Please note that the e-mail address you have contacted, "email@example.com" will be retired on April 29, 2005. In the future, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/contactus to contact Microsoft."
However, there is no contact information at this page for reporting abuse.
There are other standard accounts which are assumed to be active and specified in other RFCs, such as postmaster@domain on all hosts that have an mail server and usenet@domain for hosts running a news server.
The move has landed Microsoft on a blacklist maintained at RFC-Ignorant.org, a site which describes itself as a "clearinghouse for sites who think that the rules of the internet don't apply to them."