I put mine straight into the water too but my Grandma taught me that the water had to be boiling properly & you stop them from spreasing all over the pan by putting a teaspoon of vinegar in with the water.
Seems to work for me but I agree that your eggs have got to be fresh, old eggs will spread
I used to have a microwave plastic poacher. Mine was rubbish, could never get it to work. It would pop open and spray egg all over the inside of my microwave!
One of my housemates bought me a proper egg poaching pan for my birthday, one of the ones with a disc inside and four little metal pods for putting the eggs in. It works really well, I'm really pleased with it - though the first time, I didn't realise you had to put the lid on, and couldn't work out why my eggs weren't cooking on top!
I also tried to steam rice once, and forgot to put water in the steamer. I'm a bit of a disaster with kitchen contraptions