[Dshield] Plaxo "service"

Brian Dessent brian at dessent.net
Thu Oct 9 07:49:34 GMT 2003


Keith Bergen wrote:
> 
> Today I received an email from a colleague in my company. He
> has started using Plaxo to keep his contacts up-to-date.
> Plaxo is at http://www.plaxo.com for those that haven't seen
> it.
> 
> Obviously, I'm vehemently opposed to this. Giving my internal
> company contact information to a third party can only be
> bad ... for me.
> 
> But I'm not writing here to complain about the service.
> 
> My question is, has anybody had an confirmed bad experience
> with using this service? I did a google search, and found
> many pages that indicate it *could* be used as a spam email
> address collection service, but I have not found anything
> that is fully exploiting it ... yet.

I don't know anything specifically about this company.  But I agree that
all of these "semiautomatic whitelist" services need to die.  All they
really do is contribute to the problem, while hiding it from their
client's eyes.  Every spam gets one of those silly autoreplies, and
guess how many "From:" lines in spam are correct?  Plus, most
mailinglist owners would probably agree that most people forget or fail
to whitelist their subscriptions, which results in more work for the
administrator.

And most importantly, there's the issue of giving trust to a third
party.  I think it's worth mentioning the case of spamarrest.com earlier
this year.  You can read about what happened in this google groups
thread if you aren't familiar with it:
<http://groups.google.com/groups?&selm=slrnb4m6bl.4hk.you%40jazz.hq.newdream.net>

You can read the resulting thread for details, but basically these
bastards decided that any recipient that any client of theirs had ever
sent email to was entitled to receive their advertising spam.  They
spammed thousands, including role accounts and otherwise inactive
addresses, under the premise that if an email address had ever so much
as ever touched their system, it was fair game to receive their spam.
Naturally their reputation took quite a hit, and I can't say this kind
of thing really paints a good picture for these types of companies.

Brian




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