More spam from people I once trusted.

2003-11-14 19:58

It’s sort of becoming a recurring nightmare. Companies with whom I once had a happy relationship turn to spam. The latest victim is The Chip Merchant. These people used to be a good source for reasonably-priced computer parts. I bought a lot of stuff from them. My first order was probably in 1998, and they sent order confirmation to a tagged address in the domain “nospam.plethora.net”. As they should have.

Yesterday, I got spammed at that address. But not for the first time. This was the second or third time. The first time, I sent a friendly note pointing out the obvious database mishap. But the second, or maybe third, time I got FOUR SEPARATE SPAMS from them, one to each tagged address I’ve used over the years, I had lost any hope of salvaging things.

I still have my order confirmations around. In the comments field, I put helpful reminders. For instance, in December 1999, I made two orders. The comments were “No spam please” and “No mailing lists, please”.

Until 2003, they never once sent me spam. In 2003, they spammed me. To the same old addresses, which they had previously left alone.

This is the worst part about acquintance spam. It’s bad enough being put on mailing lists you didn’t ask for. It’s bad enough being put on mailing lists after being told the company doesn’t do that. But when it happens FOUR YEARS after they got an address, well, then it’s pretty scary. A lot of people don’t even have an email address for four years.

What this does is create an environment where people are afraid to give out their email addresses, and rightly so. What it does is undermine what little trust people have left for the email system.

On November 9th, of 1998, I asked them this question:

2. You (or yahoo, since they seem to run the store) may wish to make it more clear whether or not you plan to add email addresses to some kind of mailing list – ideally making it clear that you don’t unless people ask to be added to a list. ;)

They responded, on November 10th, 1998:

Unfortunately, we do not have a mailing list. receive messages from customers all the time. We only use e-mail addresses for problems with a customers order, parts not in stock, etc.

Well, so much for that. They changed their minds; now they use email addresses for spam. What ever happened to “we only use email addresses for problems with a customers order, parts not in stock, etc.”?

The one thing worse than spam, which is merely evil, is spamming someone who keeps all his old mail after telling him you wouldn’t, which is stupid, too.

Peter Seebach

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