Spam from

When I started getting repeated and persistent invitations from old friends — and even from an ex-girlfriend — I knew something was up, so I looked into it; you may have noticed the related links I posted to my spam tag. More details now from Joi Ito and Community Mobilization.

The gist of it is that when you sign up with, it apparently asks for your Hotmail/Yahoo Mail password, spams people in your address book with invitations appearing to come from your own name and email address, then continues to send those invitations even if you are not actively inviting people — and even if you unregister from their service. The invitations do include an “unsubscribe” link, but since when can you trust unsubscription links from a spammer?, if it is indeed a legitimate service, is getting off on a seriously wrong foot here. I can see how their suits may have thought it would be a cool “feature,” but now I’m marking all email that appears to be an invitation as junk, and warning other people not to use it. Needless to say, I won’t be signing up at all.

Update: Comments on this entry are now closed, and the topic continues here: Update on spam.


  1. Rich Clark says:

    Crap. I so fell for that.

  2. Sean says:

    Here’s what it says on the registration page. Seems pretty clear to me. You just need to pay attention to what you are doing, especially if someone asks for your password. This is the Internet, people.

    The people who just blindly do this probably have more to worry about than some invites from These people probably also click ‘Yes’ to every ActiveX window that pops up asking to install ‘software’ (spyware). Some people have an inherent need and skill for learning the hard way. End of rant.

    The registration text ————————————————-

    Import and invite your contacts

    New optional service

    As you add more friends, your network will grow and you’ll be connected to new people

    View the guide (pdf file)

    Enter your Hotmail login to see who’s connected and automatically bring your friends into your address book.

    If you do, you get FREE text messaging with your contacts. We’ll even automatically reserve free accounts for them and invite them to on your behalf.

    Enter your Hotmail login below:

    Hotmail Email Address:

    Hotmail Email Password:


    Find out more about how your privacy is protected. We do NOT record your password after address book import. If you leave out your password (and proceed with registration without importing and inviting) you can add your contacts at a later time. Additionally, on the next page you will have the opportunity to choose “manual selection” of your contacts, in case you do not want to import and invite them all. You must have an existing relationship with any contacts you invite, providing an implicit consent by the recipient to receive your invitation.

  3. mmbb says:

    Hotmail Email Address:

    Hotmail Email Password:

    ha ha ha. hahaha. i’m tired of getting spam, but only one person (out of 5 invites) has replied to everybody and apologized.

  4. FYSean says:

    I got an invite from which Trouble is, they made it seem like it was directly approved by a trusted friend. I signed up, and it said that a hotmail id is preferred. I did that, and next thing it asked for my hotmail id and pwd. There is some cryptic ‘Manual.’ Next thing I know, it had sent an invitation to all people in my address book.

  5. Ann says:

    I was led into thinking it was free now Ive discovered that I am being charged for text messages that I did not ask for ie preemium rate text messages at 50 p a message and when I asked to cancel was sent 25 messages to say I was deleted from this scam which has cost me so much for the reply.

  6. Sean says:

    FYSean, Ann:

    Get AdAware Personal. It’s free. It will get rid of all the spyware that’s currently infesting your computer. Seriously. I can see the 12 different copies of ‘Gator’ on each of your machines.

    Oh yeah.. write your credit card number and expiration date on the line. I need it: ________________________

    You guys are silly.

  7. Paulo says:

    FYI to anyone else reading these comments, Sean’s IP address resolves to Way to conduct business, Sean: I’m sure insulting customers is a great way to endear the company to clientele. Does Pousti know you’re posting this stuff?

  8. Martin says:

    [comment deleted]

  9. Paulo says:

    These comments are now closed, and the topic continues here: