Safe list, address book, mailing list… what’s the deal?

Receiving mail from friends shouldn’t involve searching through a bunch of potency ads in your junk e-mail folder.  If you want to make sure you receive these messages you need to tell the Hotmail server who your friends are (only you can decide if you want to receive mail from your friends).  There are a few lists provided in Hotmail to help you “safe list” mail you’d like to receive: your contact list, safe list and mailing lists list (say that three times fast).

Why so many lists?  Here’s a good way to view the lists:

Contacts: These are people to whom you send e-mail.

Hotmail’s contact manager stores the same type of information you keep in your PDA, little black book or in the pile of wadded up business cards you haven’t quite gotten around to organizing.  You can enter address info, phone numbers and, most importantly for this topic, an e-mail address.  Any e-mail address you enter into your Hotmail contacts will be treated as a friend… Hotmail will avoid junking the mail from your friends.

To add contacts: Sign into Hotmail and click the “Contacts” tab at the top of the page.
Extra tip:  Look in the left-hand column under “Tools” for some ways to quickly build your contact list.

Safe list: These are addresses from which you receive e-mail but to which you rarely (if ever) send e-mail.

The safe list is the perfect place for you to enter the e-mail addresses or domains of companies from whom you’d like to receive e-mail but to whom you don’t send mail.  Why fill up your contact list with extra items when you don’t send mail to them?  It makes it harder to find contacts when you need to.

To add to your safe list:  Sign into Hotmail and click the “Contacts” tab at the top of the page.  Look in the left-hand column for “Safe List”.  Click the “Safe List” link then enter e-mail addresses clicking the “Add” button after each address.
Extra tip:  If you receive a lot of mail from one domain (e.g. all your co-workers send mail from [worker] you may enter a domain in the safe to cover all addresses from the domain.

Mailing lists: These are addresses where the sender changes often but the recipient doesn’t (and the recipient isn’t your address)

If you subscribe to an e-mail mailing list you’ll find using one of the first two lists is unlikely to work well.  The problem occurs most with discussion lists since the mail will always come from some random subscriber and go to the list.  Since you don’t want to maintain a list of all the people subscribed you can, in this case, indicate that mail to the list is safe.  Hotmail will look at incoming mail and avoid junking it if the mail is addressed to an address on your mailing lists.

To add to your mailing lists list: Sign into Hotmail and click “Options” (the link is near the top right, next to “Help”).  In the left-hand column click “Mail” then click “Junk E-Mail Protection” in the main (white colored) section.  The mailing lists link will take you to the entry form.  The form accepts only e-mail addresses, it won’t accept simply a domain.
Advanced user tip:  If you have an old account which forwards mail to your Hotmail account Hotmail will junk the e-mail because it’s not to your Hotmail account (it’s to your old account).  If you list your old account address as a mailing list Hotmail will accept the incoming mail.

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