A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from an old friend, someone I hadn’t heard from in six sum-odd months. But I didn’t get the email directly – it came through a social networking service.
This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it isn’t the first time I received a message through the service provider of late.
I don’t think this has anything to do with my popularity. It must be that the great copy I wrote for all those SuperMuscles2000 pill spams I used to send out really convinced people to add me to their address book (JUST KIDDING!!!). I am trying to make a point however, in that the more people you know, and the more that have you in their personal information manager’s address book, the better the chance you will get one of these solicitations (sooner or later). Why you ask?
Well, most of the systems out there provide a way for a new user to upload their entire contact database to the system. I haven’t been asked in advance by anyone I knew whether I wanted my contact information in someone else’s hands, but with the ease of upload a prime way to reel folks in, I am not surprised. It is just too easy.
And as with email newsletters, opt-in webpages, and other solicitation mechanisms that I avoid like the plague, once that email is in there, who the heck knows what might happen to it. Not to say these services don’t have the best intentions in mind. But you can be certain the hackers that break into their systems, seeking email addresses for the ten million users the service just bragged about in their latest press release, don’t.
For a little more reading on the subject, check out Many-to-Many: acquaintance spam, from Corante, and Getting List Spam To Go With Your Friend Spam, from my favorite, ultra-sarcastic-almost-always-absolutely-correct friends over at Techdirt.