David Gallagher at the New York Times had to do some rumour control when a reader wrote accusing Microsoft of prohibiting the word "Tibet" in Hotmail addresses to appease the Chinese government. No "[email protected]", no "[email protected]", no "[email protected]" Is this another Chinese-Microsoft evil conspiracy? While there are some of those going on between China and companies like Microsoft, Google, or Yahoo, this is not the case.
As David discovered, it turns out that you can't register any name with the word "tib" on them, not just Tibet. Microsoft gave him an explanation for this: they wanted to protect customers of the TIB Bank in Florida, so they can't receive a message from "[email protected]" asking for their bank account passwords. As he was able to test, if you try to use any other bank name in the address, it won't work. Mystery solved! [NYT]