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Spam alert! March 15, 2007

Posted by Tim in Science/Tech.

I’ve been receiving a few of these in the mail:
My finely-tuned skeptic-sense started ringing as I noticed that when hovering over “Yes” or “No”, the linked address didn’t change – in short, I would be directed to the same address as long as I clicked on it.

Some digging later, my suspicions were confirmed. A closer look at their privacy policy reveals:

“If a registered user refers a friend who goes on to sign up on our site, then the registered user earns points. For more information about the point system, see http://www.tagged.com/huh.html. From time to time, Tagged may share the email address and/or other personally identifiable information of any registered user with third parties for marketing purposes. You may opt-out from receiving marketing messages from our partners at any time by using the following link: http://g.trackbot.com/dne?l=705f227&e. In addition, Tagged may share a registered user’s email address with third parties to target advertising and to improve user experience on Tagged’s pages in general.

Improve my “experience”? No thanks.

While we’re talking about spam, I’d like to dispense some advice:

  • Whenever a site asks you for your address, think twice before giving it. Those sites that ask you to take an IQ test and then “send it to your friends”, or tag this and that, or take a quiz – they want those addresses for a reason; that’s how they make money and this is a major source of spam.
  • Never even open an email you think is spam. A common technique spammers use is to embed a 1×1 pixel transparent GIF image in an email, associating every image name to the email addresses that they spam. When you view the email, the image is “hit” – that is, loaded from their servers – and therefore confirming that your email address is active and a valid spam target.
  • Never forward chain mail (not the armour) and “motivational” emails. Every time you forward an email saying “for every signature on this email Microsoft will save one soul”, you’re screwing over your friends if the email gets into the hands of a spammer.
  • Same concept applies to real life. If you insist on dropping your business card in a basket every time you eat somewhere in hopes of winning a “lucky draw”, don’t be surprised if you get boatloads of SMS/email spam and calls from telemarketers
  • Some countries require emailers to include an “opt-out” link, which unsubscribes them from their lists (which you sometimes didn’t manually subscribe to in the first place). Be wary. The more unscrupulous sites actually use this as a way of verifying that your email address is active!

Consider this post a public service :)

On a vaguely related note, a woman accused of murdering her husband had her Google and MSN search records used as evidence in her trial. Apparently she searched for “How to commit murder”.

If you don’t already know, if you are logged into Google while making a search (e.g. through GMail, or personalized Google News), all your searches are logged. You can view them through your account.



1. Judson - March 16, 2007

Interesting… i din know that… someone send the email to me and i click yes… then at the tagged site i juz selected all & invite… thought its another friendster thing….

2. Judson - March 16, 2007

but i dun remember sending u any email though… i think tagged auto sent it to all my address book… everyone seems to have that email…

3. justchal - March 16, 2007

Yes Tagged! is especially smart. It not only sends spam, it sends it from your email address, not theirs, so you can’t just click the “Mark as Spam” button.

4. zxcvxz - June 12, 2007


5. cla natural fat burner - July 22, 2014

Hello there! This post could not bee written any better! Readig through
this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept
preaching about this. I most certainly will send this information to him.
Pretty sure he’ll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

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