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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

LinkedIn & SixApart, worse SPAM offenders

Posted by direwolff on November 14, 2006

Let me qualify the title of this post by saying that their SPAM offense is that they have either directly provided my e-mail address or have had someone unwittingly usurp it from their system, but in any case, they are both responsible for a significant increase in SPAM which even Gmail’s tough SPAM filters are unable to detect. I’ll explain how I know that they’re the sources of this offense.

I have my own domain name, and where registration is required I use the e-mail nomenclature of the service’s name @ my domain. This means that every e-mail address for any service I’m registered with is unique to that service. I don’t use it any where else. It was because of SPAM issues in the past that I decided it was time to determine where the sources of these leaks were and begin to hold them accountable. I’m still working on the latter part. I once picked off a SPAM message from a Marketwatch advertiser and with the help of their team we got down to where the leak had occurred and it was sealed. They took the matter very seriously and dealt with it accordingly.

After seeing the first of the LinkedIn related SPAM messages come several months ago I notified their customer service group. After several interactions they simply kept denying their involvement in the leak and would ask for sample e-mails but never seemed to be doing anything about it. After a while, responses died down from them. I even e-mailed their VP of Marketing, whom I know and thought would take immediate action, but nothing, not even a response to this issue which is now bringing me 5 to 10 SPAM messages per day just from their designated e-mail address. Even identifying these messages as SPAM on Gmail has not stopped them from coming (we all know spammers are getting smarter, but other SPAM does get caught which makes this an insiduous problem). I haven’t gotten around to advising SixApart, but in their case, it’s related to their TypeKey identity service which is used when posting comments on some blogs. Given that the e-mail address is not posted anywhere, one has to wonder how a spammer is getting this TypeKey e-mail address. This one is almost more mysterious than LinkedIn, since with LinkedIn a connected contact could view my e-mail address and pass it on. With Typekey, there’s no obvious place that the e-mail address gets displayed.

Most people wouldn’t realize that this is happening because if you’re using your regular e-mail address for these services then you don’t know who the source of the leak to a spammer is, but it’s becoming clear that some services need some real tightening up if they’re to continue gaining our trust. To me the most shocking part is that where I would expect this to happen on some cheesy fly-by-night social network, LinkedIn and SixApart (Typekey is an identity service for Pete’s sake!), are the last two places I would have suspected having such lax security and information privacy. Wonder what else they’ve divulged about me? Hmmm…

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2 Responses to “LinkedIn & SixApart, worse SPAM offenders”

  1. Jo said

    This reminds me, for the past two weeks or so I’ve started posting replies in a few fresh blogs and some spam started turning up in my gmail that doesn’t directly go to the spam folder. These guys are quick. I think the source of the leak is a human in their midst.

  2. Mel said

    I agree!!! I just sent linkedin the following message:

    “Since joining your site a few days ago, I have received a huge amount of SPAM in my email. I have had this email account for nearly 3 years, and it has never had this problem until now.

    My linkedin account was saved as “Private”, but either you are selling email addresses to 3rd parties or someone has broken into your website.

    Please cancel my account and remove all my info immediately. Thanks.”

    I typically don’t signup for things with my main email account, but being that Linkedin is supposed “work related”, I let my guard down. Now, there’s a ton of spam each time I blink!! UGH!

    I found your webpage from Googling “Linkedin” and “spam”. Apparently, this is happening to tons of people.

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