Robert Cringely on the devastating effect botnets are having on large ISPs:
Swimming upstream through Earthlink customer support, my buddy finally found a technical contact who freely acknowledged the problem. Since June, he was told, Earthlink’s mail system has been so overloaded that some users have been missing up to 90 percent of their incoming e-mail. It isn’t bounced back to senders; it just disappears. And Earthlink hasn’t mentioned the problem to these affected customers unless they complain.
If you study the terms and conditions of your ISP’s service contract, you’re increasingly likely to find a caveat to the effect of “We do not guarantee the delivery of any email message.” AOL’s EULA has been saying this for years, but the practice is spreading.
The botnets are winning. There’s even a front-page story in the NY Times about the subject today.