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Social Network Emails = Spam?  (View post)

Filippo Ronco [PersonRank 0]

Saturday, August 18, 2007
12 years ago4,706 views

Hi Philipp, we run a social network : www.vinix.it but one of the first issues that we focused on during the projecting step, was to give the members full control on messages and notifications. So, now we have a "preference" section trough wich you can manage all notifications. Bye, Fil.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Filippo, the issue is I don't even want to become a member of vinix.it (or the 32 other social network sites that offer me message control options) and be forced to make that choice. I don't want more than 1 email (at most) from vinix.it, until you get an opt-in message from me. Does your system work like this?

me [PersonRank 8]

12 years ago #

you can always use services like spamgourmet.com. if you close your social network account you just delete its email alias. it is a good service to defend your real email address.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Me: the thing is, some of these social sites even mail you when you never signed up with them before. And some even mail you *reminders* when you don't reply, even though you never signed up. E.g. they may send the same message again after some months, or they may sent an "invitation is about to expire" follow-up.

But in any case, once you suggest tools like spamgourmet you seem to agree it's spam, and at that point there should be better (perhaps legal) ways to deal with this, as long as the company operates in public.

Tomi Häsä [PersonRank 5]

12 years ago #

I'm a member of only one social network, orkut, because I'm interested in Google and wanted to see what it's all about. I don't actually use it, just tested it, and sometimes visit it to see if there are any new interesting features. I do get friends invites from different social networks and see those messages as spam and mark them as such. Same applies to link exchange messages.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

PS: Just confirmed this with e.g. LinkedIn. I registered two new LinkedIn accounts with different email addresses. I then used the "quick invite" option in each account to invite info[put at-character here]blogoscoped.com, an email address I never signed-up with at LinkedIn. The result was that two
"Join my network on LinkedIn" messages dropped into my info[put at-character here]blogoscoped.com inbox. This might now be followed up by other mails, at least if LinkedIn didn't change their system, as I have different "Your invitation from *** is about to expire" messages from LinkedIn in my email account. This follow-up message by LinkedIn is of course fully automated. I also just confirmed that Xing sends invites to email addresses which never registered with them.

Rohit Srivastwa [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I can still stand linkedin mails, cause I get quality crowd there.
but mail like TAGGED, ZORPIA, , etc sucks man.

Some idiot friend of mine will be having my ID in his address book & then he will invite his whole address book to join his network

The biggest pain is when you manage mailing lists(I mean forwarding aliases) & these kind of mails come to those address.

I never joined such site & i wont like to get invited too, but still I cant opt out of these stupid invitations & there reminders

Hashim [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Philipp,
it seems that your issue is with strangers who are sending you these invites, not the networks themselves.

Imagine if I blamed hotmail for all the "funny forwards" my aunt sends me!

There needs to be a new teaching of email etiquette that extends to social network invites.

Martin Porcheron [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Hashim

I am in several mailing lists and I and ****ed off with receiving Bebo invites, the last person who sent one wasn't aware that Bebo had actually sent it.

The issue is social networking sites are conning users into inputting their mail account details to "network" with existing friends, but what they usually don't say is that anyone who isn't a user will be invited.

Thus I end up with many Bebo invites.

Armand Asante [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Hashim:
hardly the same.

The problem is not with strangers sending invites (or even friends).
The point is these messages don't originate from said people's own mail address.
They're being sent by the networks "on behalf" of these people:
'Here, mate. Just click the "quick invite" – we'll take care of things for you. The recipient wont even be able to see your mail address.'

Not quite the same as your aunt spamming you from her own identifiable inbox.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> not the networks themselves.

Also, the networks (like LinkedIn) send reminders after some time if you ignore the invites... these definitely aren't triggered by any person.

Even without second reminders, the person triggering the original invite cannot possibly know how many invites someone else gets from this system, so the system should manage the "email a person one time only, unless they opt in for further mails" distribution.

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Sounds like you're talking about 2 different issues.

In the first case having lots of strangers inviting you from all kinds of services...I think that this isn't a problem a lot of people have because generally there's the few big places and most peoples' networks of friends revolve around only a couple of services (i.e. all of my friends are on facebook, not on myspace, orkut, etc.).

And the second problem you talk about isn't unique to social networks. Often when you sign up for services on a website (occasionally even your bank or credit card website), they will start sending you messages. Generally there's a way to opt-out in the settings, but you don't realize until after you've signed up and started receiving messages. I think this definitely is not unique to social networks, though maybe the amount of messages would be more frequent since they're user-triggered.

In the case of a site like Facebook you can fully customize your notifications, and choose to only use on-site notifications instead of getting emails. I think this is the right solution because I know of few or no places that will let you opt-in to more messages based on the first email you get. And it makes sense from the site's viewpoint...they figure people are less likely to go to the settings and opt-out, so they'll see ads, notifications, etc.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I signed up for the Dogdeball service a while back just to see what it was like. I got several text messages from the service itself trying to get me more interested in using the service. I ended up just deleting the Dodgeball account because I didn't like getting text spam on my phone. A few minutes before I removed my account, I noticed the website offered a message control area for what type of text messages I would like to accept. I was already frustrated with the service so I continued with my account removal rather than changing my settings. I would prefer all systems to be opt-in for most communication with me.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I partly agree with Hashim here. The source of the problem is actually the people who are inviting you. Of course, the social networks could be doing more to ensure they aren't sending you more than one email though.

I think the reason these social networks believe they don't need an opt-in approach is because they say the message is being sent by your friend rather than by them (even though it's coming from their servers).

I've used Orkut (just for testing), MySpace (hated it) and Facebook (love it) and have personally never invited any of my friends to use them. If they're not already registered, I can assume they're either not interested or haven't heard about it. Sometimes I'll mention it to them the next time we speak or email each other – but because I don't like to receive these spam-like invites, I don't want to subject my friends to them either. Having said that, I'm sure that the only reason so many of my old school friends are on Facebook is because one of their friends all signed up and entered them Hotmail / Yahoo Mail / Gmail username and password so that Facebook could email invites to them all.

Andy [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Phil. The term is 'bacn'.
Bacn is the email you want, but not just yet.
Kind of like spam you signed up for.

Abhishek [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Philipp,

I completely agree with your sentiments. Keeping up with social networks is getting crazy. Not to mention their inability to prevent SPAM.

I would love to see something towards consolidating and simplifying this. SocialStream was a project Google was involved with, which was targeted to solve this.

Maybe you guys can find the latest on this. Here is my post about them:
abhishek.tiwari.com/category/s ...

Erik Høy [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I've been testing a dousin of those social networks (LinkedIn, Xing, Orkut, you name them....). And they all seem to have a large amount of members that just like to invite each and everyone to have a large network.

I prefer to know people before I accept them as friends. Not just anybody. And so far, LinkedIn seems to be the only and most descent one: You don't get any invites that are irrelevant, or 'invite spammers', if I may say so.

My conclusion is much like Philipps: I stopped using those social networks. They are very much a waste of time. Despite the good intentions they do have. Sorry to say so.

BUGabundo [PersonRank 7]

12 years ago #

Long post, hey Philipp.
Some of this sites, post a link that allow you to "never" again receive any of this "invite" emails without even having to subscribe.
I've seen this links on some emails from Hi5 ant others.

Of course, for this to work, you still have to receive at least the first email

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> I partly agree with Hashim here. The source
> of the problem is actually the people who are
> inviting you. Of course, the social networks
> could be doing more to ensure they aren't
> sending you more than one email though.

Note these emails aren't restricted to just invites. They also include invite-reminders – which the clock of the social network server, not a human triggered – as well as "I'm verifiying my address book, please reply to this mail" messages... and these are bulk-mailed by a single human click. (Even spam software which bulk-mails recipient is triggered to start by some human.)

In any case, as you say if only they'd ensure a single recipient won't get more than a single mail ever, the issue would be solved. I think that should be the netiquette here. (A human won't usually send more than a single message, it's the system that does, and the system also includes messages the human didn't type – like advertisement for the social network.)

> And so far, LinkedIn seems to be the only and most descent one:
> You don't get any invites that are irrelevant, or 'invite spammers',
> if I may say so.

Erik, IMO LinkedIn is one of the worst... not only will you get mails when you didn't sign up, you will also get *reminders* to those mails if you ignore them...

Ralf Scharnetzki [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

I agree Philipp, there are way to many social network sites where you have to maintain accounts and where the side effects of joining are unplanned. If Google would go into a direction of closely integrating Social Networking with Google Docs (think of iGoogle pages that are stored in an enhanced Google Docs and that can be shared with others like Docs can be shared today. More here: line-of-reasoning.com/solution ...) there would be no need for joining different networks and I would see some hope of reducing the noise.

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