When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

31 August 2007

A little Quechup on your spam?

This must be some kind of new land speed record for getting spammed.

Last month, I set up a private, "secure" e-mail account, and just gave the address to friends and key business contacts. It's been working like a charm - the account works beautifully with the iPhone, and I know that every piece of mail that arrives is high-value, because I've given the address to nobody outside a tight little circle of privileged contacts.

Today, the first piece of spam arrived.

A trusted friend had included my secure e-mail in a mailshot promoting a project. No problem there; it's not a state secret, I'm just trying to keep it safe for useful communications... wish he had bcc'ed me, though.

Everyone on the mailshot who had a webmail account that autoharvests e-mail addresses for their contacts suddenly had my e-mail address. Gmail does this; Yahoo does it if asked; probably others do, too.

OK, still not a real problem there.

Then a woman I know slightly, who was on the trusted friend's mailshot (still following me?) apparently signed up for Quechup, a new social-networking site with a very underhanded modus operandi:

When you sign up, Quechup asks, as many social networking sites do, if you'd like to check your address book to see how many of your friends are already on the service (something that can be done safely at sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.)

Then guess what happens. It spams *everybody* in your freaking address book, evidently without your knowledge or consent.

Rat bastards.

I've tried to remove myself from future Quechup mailings, but with this standard of ethical behavior on their part, I'm sure my address has been sold to every Viagra spammer and Nigerian scam artist in the world by now.

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