Email trust abuse
February 1, 2007 | By Peter Bihr |
My personal SPAM award for 2006 goes out to this dude: Stephan Dau (his website), a Berlin-based PR & event management guy. A long time ago, he contacted me via the networking site openBC/xing and asked me if he could invite me to some parties. I was stupid enough to agree – bad mistake. Ever since, he’s been sending me invitations to the oddest events. Although I’ve unsubscribed his “newsletters” several times – it was my fault to begin with, after all – and emailed him and his webmasters several times (at least 4 mails, probably more) he still keeps spamming on a quite regular basis.
(Dear Spambots, please feel free to harvest these following addresses, which Stephan Dau uses to spam me from against my clearly articulated wishes to receive no further email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and my new favorite: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Now, everybody who’s worked with newsletters knows it can be quite tricky to handle a bunch of mail addresses and address lists. So errors can happen, no big deal.
On the other hand, though, this is a good example of the very common practice to just use email addresses for whatever reason the company comes up with. I can see how tempting this is: A person agrees to share their email address with you: Great, so they’ve got to be interested in your services, right? They won’t mind, will they? Hey, it’s in their best interest, too! Meeeeeep. Wrong answer. If someone trusts you with their email address, you should be particularly careful with the ways you use it. Just adding them to another email list of yours is a very bad idea indeed – plus: it triggers a whole series of further problems, especially if you’re not very apt at handling said lists and keep sending emails from one list after the recipient asked to be removed from the original list.
In the case of my favorite Berlin-based spammer, it seems particularly stupid to abuse emails: As a PR guy, he wants VIPs and press people to think & speak well of his events and clients – not to be bothered. (Of course, what he should be aiming for is to engage in conversations. But that seems to be too much to ask for…)
For the time being, I guess I’ll just put him on my personal blacklist. Ignorance is bliss.