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I just sent a “reply all” in response to a message about food arrangements for a family picnic. Hotmail is missing out on a marketing opportunity. Here’s their 550 error response:

Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable.

Here’s AOL’s:

We would love to have gotten this email to [address]. But, your recipient never logged onto their free AIM Mail account. Please contact them and let them know that they’re missing out on all the super features offered by AIM Mail. And by the way, they’re also missing out on your email. Thanks.

I like that AOL has taken the opportunity to change a standard error message into a pleasant few sentences. They are clearly putting a positive spin on this, because the most likely reason someone has never logged onto their free AIM Mail account is because they want to avoid like the plague all the super features offered by AIM Mail and they can’t figure out how to get the super software off the computer that came with it pre-installed. Nonetheless, I’m flattered that AOL thinks that missing out on my “I’ll bring macaroni salad” message is cause for concern.

AOL is also clearly taking a stand on the singular “they.”