Today I sent feedback to Spock.com to advise them that I did not want any more of their spam and I did NOT want to have to register to opt out of the spam. I have begun forwarding the “trusted connection requests” from my friends and colleagues back to my colleagues asking if they really did want to send all this spam to me (having made this mistake in October with Shelfari, heavens help me.) So far, two of them said they were simply experimenting with the system, having received so many invitations themselves. One felt compelled to join to correct erroneous information on the system. Now THERE is an interesting marketing ploy. You have to join or we will make you look bad! The other responses have been that they joined because someone they trusted invited them. The question is, did the trusted person really know what was going to happen with the system?
I have created a rule in my email box to send anything from Spock to the spam file, but something in the Spock emails seems to evade the filter (I haven’t figured that out yet.)
Now I have started getting Spock alerts. Here is an example:
From: Spock Team <email@example.com>
Subject: Spock Alerts
Below is a list of updates to your Spock search result.
Go to your contributions page to see these updates.
—Jim Benson added 1 tag to you.
—Jack Vinson added 4 tags to you.
Want to change the types of emails you receive from Spock? Click here to change your settings: http://www.spock.com/do/settings/email
If you go to the contributions page, guess what you get? A sign in. Yet another way to try and get you to join. So now not only do I get the awful “trusted associates” bacn, now I’m getting alerts.
I am sending mail to my host today submitting a complaint for spam. Spock, did you know you may be violating Washington State spam laws? The way you manipulate your users into sending email to their trusted contacts may not violate the law, but I believe the update email does. I am making the assumption that there is a commercial model behind your service, thus making it a commercial transaction.
More importantly, you are violating our good will and trust. That will sink you.
Bottom line: Spock is using similar tactics Shelfari used and which the blogosphere condemmed. Shelfari adjusted their process. Will Spock? Spock tries to convince registrants to allow Spock to send email on their behalf by making the impression that other people, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE IN SPOCK’S database scraped from other sites on the web, have opted in to the service and thus should be logical connections on the service. Then it starts spamming. I should not have to opt out of Spock’s system. I should not be subjected to their bacn. Spock, don’t opt me in. Offer me the opportunity but assume until I say yes that I don’t want your bacn. Put an opt out form on your site ASAP.
Update Monday Afternoon:
A few more things come to light about Spock.
This is not a new problem… http://www.joeszilagyi.com/2007/09/19/spockcom-spam/
And one with a great visual http://www.itgumbo.com/mumbogumbo/2007/08/spock_shocks_but_fails_to_rock.php