Monday, September 03, 2007

I can't express how embarrassing this is...

From: Harry Forsdick
Date: Sep 3, 2007 1:46 PM
Subject: Quechup: Avoid it like the plague
To: Friends

Friends,

Yesterday, I signed up for a social networking group called Quechup. Due to some ambiguous wording on the website's part, I thought that they would just be checking my address book to see if people on it were already members of Quechup. But noooo, they just went ahead and spammed my entire address book of more than 2000 entries with an invitation forged from me asking people to join this wretched website.

Many people have signed up and responded to me that they have taken my advice since I follow this stuff. Needless to say, I am very upset that I have spent my reputation with you on this matter. See the Post Script to this message to read an explanation about how this happened.

If you did sign up, you can cancel your membership by logging in and then looking for something like "membership" menu. At the bottom of the menu is the cancel operation. I can't be more precise since I have already canceled my membership and can't see the user interface.

To see another explanation about all of this please see:

Extra Spam, Hold the Quechup | Wise Bread

and read the comments on this blog entry:

Quechup And Mass Hysteria

Some people have observed that now that Quechup has my address book, they can use it (and all of the other lists they have collected) to send spam whenever they want. Although this is true, I think people are kidding themselves if they think that their email address is not already on one or more spam address lists.

But, if you are that special someone who has never gotten spam, and you suddenly start to get spam, I apologize in advance for my misstep.

Someone called me up today and said that after she received "my invitation" her AOL system stopped working. She was unable to login to AOL. In addition, when she called up her husband and her daughter, they were also unable to login to AOL. What should she do to fix this?

Needless to say, something like this causes people to assign the cause of every subsequent mishap in their life to the most recent one that has been uncovered and explained.

Although I am willing to apologize for some things, I am only willing to assume a certain amount of responsibility for the failures you may encounter in the rest of your life :-)

-- Harry

P.S. On some further reflection about how I fell for this, here are some observations:
  1. I purposely sign up for new websites (or at least new to me) to see what they are all about. Part of my MO is to try stuff out and take some chances. This strategy has always worked well for me, but there are some risks that I usually avoid.

  2. The mechanism for finding people on many social networking sites is one that Quechup is using. The idea behind the mechanism is to see if people with the same email address as is in your address book already belong to the social networking site. If they do, you can link up to those people, if you want. Quechup asks you if you want to use this mechanism using the same descriptions as other social networking sites use. There are two differences in Quechup's mechanism: they don't ask you if you want to invite anyone, and they just send messages to the unfortunate people on your address list.

  3. To complicate matters, lots of my friends pay attention to my recommendations because I keep up to date on these matters -- or should I say, used to pay attention... When I go through my thought patterns on this incident, that's actually what happened to me. A classmate from Yale got caught up in this mess and he Quechup spammed everybody on the list. I saw the invitation and figuring that this guy was reliable, signed up to see what he was excited about. The rest is history.
So, as a result of this experience, I have added the following item to the list of things I think about when dealing with the Internet:
  • Before signing up for a website, go to Google and search for it's name. If I had done that, I would have discovered in the first 4 hits the SPAMing of Quechup.

2 comments:

Chris said...

Aaah... a new form of reputation theft. I nearly signed up for Quechup based on your "recommendation", but luckily saw your follow-up message in time.

For whatever it's worth, this hasn't reduced your credibility in my book at all.

Jim said...

On the same page they seem to have conflicting statements regarding friend invites:

Check who you already know that's using Quechup and invite them directly to join your friends network making Quechup an even friendlier place! Complete your account details below & we'll check your contacts for matches on Quechup so you can choose who to invite to your Friends Network.

-- AND --

Checking your contact lists finds matches on Quechup for you and sends an invite to non Quechup members to join. By inviting contacts you confirm you have consent from them to send an invitation. Quechup will not spam or sell addresses from your contacts. See our privacy policy.