Gmail glitch is sending boatloads of email to one Hotmail account

Google is not having a good day today. After it’s ‘Reliability Engineer’ team took to Reddit for an AMA, Gmail and Google+ went offline in a massive, worldwide outage. As you can imagine at Google, they were likely scrambling to get the service back online but when the servers kicked back on, one Hotmail account started getting spammed with emails.

TechCrunch first noticed the bug and what happens is that when you search Google for Gmail, and then click the Email link shown in the image above, a blank email will open with the address dsp559@hotmail.com already filled in the address bar; Neowin was able to reproduce this bug.

The poor individual whose email account is being pre-populated is David S. Peck who said that he started receiving thousands of blank emails yesterday.

As you can imagine, this bug is clearly having a major impact on Mr. Peck’s ability to use his personal email account. Seeing that the accounts that are sending him the blank emails are all legitimate and not spam accounts, any filter features on Hotmail will likely not stop the messages. As such, his inbox has become filled with useless, but legitimate, email.

The bug is clearly quite interesting as there are millions, if not billions of email address out there but how did it end up that Mr. Peck’s account was pre-populated into the blank message.

While your opinion of Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign may be less than favorable, we can all likely agree that Mr. Peck has been scroogled to the highest degree. Hopefully Google will fix the bug quickly but seeing that the company has had sever issues the past few hours, we suspect that may have bigger jobs on the task list than tending to this bug.

Source: TechCrunch

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65 Comments

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"As you can imagine, this bug is clearly having a major impact on Mr. Peck's ability to use his personal email account" ...yeah, and that's now not going to be helped in the slightest by Neowin publicly posted a direct mailto: link in this article to his account!

Why have Neowin not hidden/obscured his address in this article?! This is a very poor editorial judgement by Neowin

GreatMarkO said,
Why have Neowin not hidden/obscured his address in this article?! (

Wondering the same, thought a private e-mail would be blurred for privacy reasons.

Just found this page dated from August 2012:
http://leasingnews.org/archives/Aug2012/8_01.htm

The email address dsp559@hotmail.com is listed there. But just notice what happens when you click on the dsp559@hotmail.com email address. Although the browser status bar displays a "mailto:" link, it actually opens a popup directing to the exact same Gmail link that caused this problem today, with this email address prepopulated. Also the word Email appears before this link, the same word that was appearing as a sitelink when searching for Gmail today.
Coincidence?

Edited by Nick Gar, Jan 25 2014, 12:37am :

Now since his email was posted on the public internet spam bots will harvest it and send thousands of messages to him each day. LOL

If I were him I would create another email address as it is no longer even functional.

My thoughts exactly. Neowin (and probably other news sites) just ruined his email address. They shouldn't have posted it in clear text... it should have been in an image. Very irresponsible and reckless.

Link isnt working anymore. Getting the following when clicked on...

"We're sorry, but your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes. You can view the Apps Status Dashboard for the current status of the service."

Then I click TRY AGAIN and my main GMAIL window opens. So someone is working on it and will be fixed soon it looks like...hopefully.

techbeck said,
Link isnt working anymore. Getting the following when clicked on...

"We're sorry, but your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes. You can view the Apps Status Dashboard for the current status of the service."

Still works here.

https://www.google.com/#q=gmail

techbeck said,
odd, I was getting that but not anymore via Google.com.

I don't either, but if I scroll down a bit, I still see the Email link.

How the HELL can such a bizarre bug happen? With a Hotmail address?!

Still works btw, just tried it with google.at. I hope Peck gets a mighty fine SORRY from Google and I ain't talking about a Gmail address.

-adrian- said,
my mail got to leawee@sph.com.sg

whoa, that's an email belonging to Singapore Press Holdings. This poor guy at my country's local press is going to get a shock!

I would not be surprised, since this is Google, if it were you receiving 1000s of emails you would still shrug your shoulders and say "Just another bug that will be addressed."

I say that about all companies. Bugs happen. Thats a fact of life. Its the time that it takes to address the bugs thats the issue. I just dont hate on an issue with a company that every companies experiences...bugs. But you can if you want since obviously everything you use is bug free.

People act like only one company has these issues when problems like this are reported. And it is mainly the people who straight out hates that company who is having the problem.

Edited by techbeck, Jan 24 2014, 9:17pm :

techbeck said,
Just another bug that will be addressed. Just another day in the tech world.
It won't be addressed, there already is an address.

techbeck said,
I say that about all companies. Bugs happen. Thats a fact of life. Its the time that it takes to address the bugs thats the issue. I just dont hate on an issue with a company that every companies experiences...bugs. But you can if you want since obviously everything you use is bug free.

People act like only one company has these issues when problems like this are reported. And it is mainly the people who straight out hates that company who is having the problem.

I completely agree, all software from all companies have bugs. But for some guy who is getting 1000s of emails because of Google, I am sure it is no comfort that you think it is just the nature of the business.

But this isn't an unfortunate bug. What kind of bug is it that this guy's email was singled out? Why would an ad for a Google service on a Google web site displaying Google searches have a @Hotmail.com address. dsp559 can be just an unlucky coincidence, but to specifically have @Hotmail.com, seems like some Google engineer specifically used that domain. Most software dev shops have a testing alias that mail is sent to, but in this case that would be something@gmail.com. Instead it is @Hotmail.com.

I joke around with 99% of my comments, but this one I am serious with, WTF would Google be doing using a Hotmail domain? Something doesn't smell right.

WhatTheSchmidt said,

I joke around with 99% of my comments, but this one I am serious with, WTF would Google be doing using a Hotmail domain? Something doesn't smell right.
Somehow unlike you I don't think there's anything sinister or conspiracy related about this. It could just be that some Google engineer messed up royally while pushing untested code live and the email address in question was pulled from his address book and happens to belong to one of his friends or acquaintances.

Edit: From other comments here looks like hotmail is not the sole target, so clearly there's some bad code pulling in random addresses from somewhere.

Google will pay evryone in world $1 dollar American for each blank email that is received by dsp559@hotmail.com. Its secret test from Google to beat Bill Gates. Forward this email to everyone yu knows to make sure we make all money.

(And to believe that spam email I got last week turned out to be at least half true)......

Still happening from google.gr in Greece and google.fr in France
How did this link ended up there? It seems that somebody posted this link to thousands of sites, so it ranks high in the search results. Somebody who wanted dsp559@hotmail.com to be spammed. Or dsp559@hotmail.com himself, attempting to collect thousands Gmail addresses for whatever purposes... Not quite sure, just thinking this as a possible explanation.

Nick Gar said,
Or dsp559@hotmail.com himself, attempting to collect thousands Gmail addresses for whatever purposes...
Do you think Google is going to allow just anyone to hijack the Email link shown by their search engine when people search for Gmail? I don't see how this bug can be anything other than the result of Google's own bungling.

That is one way drive people away from your competitor, spam the hell out of them and force them to GMail. Of course it happens one user by one user. One down, millions to go. It also is a way to force a DOS on your competitor, and make them spend more money in bandwidth.

Google will do anything to attack their competitors.

So you think this poor chap after getting spammed by millions of Gmail mails is going to love the latter for it so much he'll switch?

The bug gets better - the reason he has all of these blank emails is you can't close out of the message box to get back to your email. You literally need to close the tab or type in the address bar to go somewhere else. So people hit "Send" thinking it'll get them back to where they need to be... link still shows on google.ca.

Why do even people click "Submit" when they have an empty mail open and an address filled in. People really don't pay attention or know what they're doing...

It seems like that's the only button that works. The little minimize button doesn't work. The trash can doesn't work. People might be just clicking any button they can, and when they click send it goes through.

I've try to reproduce this from google.pl and google.de, not working, Google.pl returns "bad link" info and google.de opens just normal gmail, without problem, maybe google.com related?

Semtex said,
I've try to reproduce this from google.pl and google.de, not working, Google.pl returns "bad link" info and google.de opens just normal gmail, without problem, maybe google.com related?

Yea, seems like an isolated issue.

testman said,
It says right there in the article.

Please direct me to the location within the article where it explains what this bug is actually doing and how it is defaulting to a single e-mail address for new messages...

Mr.XXIV said,
The relay server probably.

Thank you very much. Where would you guess they are pulling this singular e-mail address from? I find this really quite odd. With the number of e-mail addresses out there, I could see if it was pulling an e-mail from your friends list in what would appear as random, but not everyone will know him, so it has to be pulling from somewhere. And somewhere that no other e-mail address would ever be returned at that!

M_Lyons10 said,
What a bizarre bug... LOL

google: oh our mailservers accidentally spammed hotmail servers in a DDOS... err.. bug - we'll fix that real soon now.