NineMSN has opened up the hotmail.com.au domain, but critics say it has created a fertile field for identity fraudsters.
Microsoft and PBL Media joint venture ninemsn this week started allowing users to register email addresses in the Australian Hotmail.com.au domain, as opposed to the traditional Hotmail.com domain.
A ninemsn spokesperson confirmed the move yesterday afternoon, saying it increased the availability of email address options to users and gave them a local option to the free online email mainstay. There are more than 4.3 million people using the Windows Live Hotmail service in Australia, according to a Nielsen Netview report from December 2009.
Users had already been able to register to use the live.com.au domain name for several years, but it’s the first time the Hotmail.com.au name has been available. Hotmail.co.nz has also been made available for New Zealand use.
Users are encouraged to login to the Windows Live https://signup.live.com.au to pick the email address of their choice.
Hotmail was one of the first free email services to launch online (back in 1996) and was acquired by Microsoft in 1996 and re-branded several times. It remains one of the most popular online offerings with several hundred million users globally.
Local systems administrator Alan Lee, who works for content management firm Elcom Technology, expressed concern over the move, as he said he saw a substantial amount of traffic through his email servers that was already wrongfully addressed to Hotmail.com.au addresses — email users had mistakenly been appending the .au suffix to emails for some time.
He added there was a concern that people could impersonate others who had existing Hotmail.com addresses — for example, an individual could set up a firstname.lastname@example.org address and mimic an individual who already had a email@example.com account. He questioned whether ninemsn should have mapped the new domain to the old one, so users with existing Hotmail.com addresses would receive email to the same account name at Hotmail.com.au.
But Alex Parsons, director of marketing and MSN products at ninemsn, said the company had yet to receive feedback of duplicate email addresses being an issue for customers.
“However, as with all mails you send, we recommend checking over the recipient’s email address to ensure you are sending the email to the correct person and webmail address,” he said.
“If a customer had more than one email address, through pop3 functionality which Hotmail provides, they could link their existing Hotmail account to a new one they created and use the new one as the primary account.”
Disclaimer: APCmag.com is part of the NineMSN network.