Some time ago, author Galen Gruman, an Executive Editor at InfoWorld, started a petition demanding that Microsoft continue to sell Windows XP past the time when they had originally intended to stop, on the grounds that many individuals and businesses saw no need to switch to Windows Vista and shouldn’t be forced to do so.
Thinking that this was a worthy cause, I signed Gruman’s petition, which demanded an email address. As is my custom, I gave a unique address, so that if I subsequently started receiving spam at that address, I would know whose fault it was. Of course, I made sure to indicate when signing the petition that I didn’t want to receive any bulk email as a result.
I’m sure you’ve figured out where this is going. Shortly after signing the petition, I started to receive spam sent to the email address I had used. I sent the following email to Gruman:
When I give my email address out to Web sites, I tag it so that I can figure out where spammers get my email address.
When I signed your Save XP petition, I gave the email address [elided]. I specified when signing the petition that I did not wish to receive email from InfoWorld or anyone else on matters unrelated to the petition. My recollection at the time I signed was that the petition page was quite clear on the fact that the email address I was specifying would be used only to verify that I had not signed before.
Imagine my dismay, then, at receiving the attached spam from InfoWorld this morning.
What should I make of this?
He responded (at least he responded!), “I’ve forwarded this to the folks who maintain the mailing list to make sure there’s not been an error in how the form handles optins and optouts. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.”
IDG, InfoWorld’s parent company, just spammed me this morning at the same address.
IDG and InfoWorld have made it clear that they are unreprentant spammers, and Gruman has made it clear that he doesn’t mind helping spammers to harvest email addresses. Shame on all of them.