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Journal: Spanking the Spammers: Can I trust TRUSTe?

Journal by HalWasRight
Recently I made a quantum leap in slowing the flow of spam into my email domain. In a word it is Greylisting. But that's not the topic of this post. It's what is left over after fooling the spambots.

Greylisting works by recognizing whether an MTA has seen a sender/source/recipient tuple before, and using RFC compliant messaging temporarily blocking mail from that tuple. A real mailer will retry. A spambot has already moved on to another address and won't bother. Using Postgrey my domain's spam load went from >150/day to basically none.

No more spam except for years of accumulated "opt in" emails, that is.

Opt-in is a polite way of saying "Spam". From the sender's point of view, typically a company that you have done business with, it can't be Unsolicited Commercial Email if the sender and recipient have a business relationship, right? Right. Sure. No matter how hard I try to tell vendors that I spend money with not to spam me, I still get email from them that I do not desire. Typically the actual sender is a direct marketing firm. There are many companies that specialize in sending this type of junk mail. These include Yesmail and DoubleClick. I cite these two because they are the first two chronic abusers of my email address that I am going after now that I can see their signal since I've filtered out the other spammer's noise.

There is one particular on line vendor of office furniture that I have bought from twice that insists on having Yesmail send me their latest specials every couple of weeks. Since I recognized that I had done business with this company, I trusted that clicking on an "unsubscribe" link would not set me up for more spam -- this was a real business. So I did. And then I got another email from them a couple of weeks later. So I clicked on the unsubscribe link again. And then another email came. So I got mad and started to dig into where this crap was coming from. It was a simple matter to track it to Yesmail. Yesmail's home page says:

Yesmail helps hundreds of the world's leading marketing organizations leverage e-mail marketing to grow profitable and lasting customer relationships.

Lasting customer relationships are easy when you don't remove people from your lists!

Also on the Yesmail home page is a claim to have their site's privacy policy reviewed by TRUSTe. TRUSTe's web site lists their mission as:

TRUSTe® is an independent, nonprofit enabling trust based on privacy for personal information on the internet. We certify and monitor web site privacy and email policies, monitor practices, and resolve thousands of consumer privacy problems every year.

So I'm putting this to the test. I have filed a complaint against Yesmail with TRUSTe alleging that Yesmail has violated their TRUSTe reviewed privacy policy by providing me no way to opt out of the email they have sent me. TRUSTe has reviewed my complaint and declared it valid based on the evidence I showed them, and they have reported it to Yesmail. Only time will tell, but I'm curious to see if Yesmail stops spamming me, and if it lasts.

I filed the complaint against Yesmail about two weeks ago. This weekend I filed a TRUSTe complaint against DoubleClick. DoubleClick is sending spam monthly on behalf of a vendor that I last purchased from about four years ago. Again, unsubscribe didn't work. Even worse, when I reviewed DoubleClick's privacy policy, there was a link to a global unsubscribe page. The link was broken! TRUSTe accepted my complaint against DoubleClick on the first pass now that I know what they needed to see. Again only time will tell.

When these complaints run their course I'll report back about whether I trust TRUSTe.

-- Hal

User Journal

Journal: Doing what you love for a job: What a mistake!

Journal by HalWasRight
When I was growing up, we were always told that to have a job doing what you loved meant never hating going to work. What a crock of shit. Work is work. You go to work because someone pays you because they'll make more money than you will off of your labor. It's abusive. It oppressive.

When I go to work, I don't want to fuck around, I want to make MONEY. If I didn't want to make MONEY, then I wouldn't go to work. I really don't want to work all of my life. If I want to write code all day, then I'd like to do that. But here I am almost two decades into a career in technology, and I really don't give a shit about rallying my team to create another cool this or that for some twit customer who can't run their own damn project. I just want their money, and I don't care how I get it. Surely there is a better, more efficient way to earn money than writting software.

It's taken me twenty years to get where I am, and now I feel betrayed. Doh! I should have gone to business school, I mean the RIGHT business school. I should have become a bean counter, gotten that MBA, worn a tie. I want MONEY, because MONEY == FREEDOM. All these years I've wasted writing code, building hardware, and doing it for other people just because they'd pay me. WHORE WHORE WHORE. I feel dirty.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.

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