When viral marketing goes postal

The social marketing site, Quechup.com, apparently has taken viral marketing to a new high (or new low!).  When you sign up, it plunders your address book (without your permission) and sends them all e-mails inviting them to join Quechup and so forth, until everyone on the planet has been invited many times over.

Remiescent of:  ‘Open the pod door, Hal!’   (2001 – A Space Odyssey reference)

One of the problems with ‘bots is that we might have a different agenda than theirs — Quechup wants to raid your social networks; most people like to gatekeep their friendships or their friendships don’t last very long. 

Answer, be afraid of Quechup, be very afraid.  (And it’s not just because I don’t like Ketchup.)   ‘ Would you like Quechup with your SPAM (blast e-mail)?’

For reports of disasters that befell them see Shava Nerad‘s site or here or here.

Also called a ‘Q-style trust virus‘ and the previous blog entry talks about how social networking + trust viruses of this type could plunder and amass all the information stored by people on the Internet (like Plaxo and through on-line address books) for identity theft or other nefarious purposes.

2 responses to “When viral marketing goes postal

  1. Actually, to clarify, I did a bunch of research on Quechup, but didn’t have time to blog it — so I passed the research on to Xeni, at Boing-Boing, with the thought that she could use it.

    But thanks for the hat tip!

    I confess, I may be too nice. My first thought was that the company had been online since 2005, so perhaps some poor java or php programmer had crosswired their address book sweeper for friends on the service, with their invite sweeper. I researched the company, and the principals’ previous ventures, and tried to contact them, but they have not yet written back, which bodes ill.

    What’s worse, is that if you leave java and activeX and such enabled in your browser, technically a site wouldn’t have to ask your permission to sweep your address book; you’ve already given them permission.

  2. Although, I’ve finally given up on commenting on blogs, and just posted a blog article here:
    http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977106664

    It’s faster to give in…:)

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