WARNING: Do NOT load Quechup

I’m late on writing about this, but I was worried that I’d actually help this company out. Why? Because whenever I write negatively about a company that gets tons of you to check out the company and some of you even like the services I’m ragging on. For instance, I said I hated MSN Spaces and almost 100 million people signed up for it after I said that including my own wife who says she wishes she picked another service, but is happy that leaving a comment there is so tough that she has very few trolls. :-)

But this has gotten so bad that I think I need to write about it and explain just how bad this company is. Please read this post all the way through if you are one of those who think I’m an idiot and therefore anything I hate must be something you should try. If you do that with this company you’ll spam all your friends and you’ll be extremely pissed.

Which gets me to what got me to write this note in the first place.

Over the past week or so I’ve gotten DOZENS of spam from this service. Almost always it’s followed by an email saying “I’m sorry” from the person who tried it out.

This service sucks. Do NOT try it out.

Want more details? Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle has been tracking this story.

Some more thoughts:

1) Quechup has just raised the bar for me to try new services out. Now I won’t try things out until dozens of my friends tell me that a service is safe to try. That means that competing with Facebook (or MySpace or LinkedIn or Plaxo) is going to be very tough. Services won’t go viral anymore because we just won’t believe the email we’re getting from our friends.

2) This has been going on a long time and has gotten to the front page of Digg, but I continue getting these things (I’m getting a few of these emails every day from people who should know better).

3) This is really pissing off a lot of people. I’ve seen tons of posts like this one over on Matt Dickman’s TechnoMarketer blog.

4) It’s sad that some companies feel they are going to be able to make a business on top of strategies like this one.

I’d love to support a lawsuit against the company for doing this.

Comments

  1. Count me in as one of the affected/pissed off. Way too trusting of these sites, they offer up a chance to submit your email info in order to sift through their own database for common contacts. Instead, they’re leeching your contact list.

    Well, there goes the neighborhood. However the silver lining is that we’ll all be much more hesitant to embrace anything all these lines again (good for us, bad for start-ups).

    Thanks for the update, Robert.

  2. I found it interesting that an email to the privacy address (which also routes the mail to “legal” and “support”) bounced with a message that the mail account was “temporarily suspended”.

  3. I found it interesting that an email to the privacy address (which also routes the mail to “legal” and “support”) bounced with a message that the mail account was “temporarily suspended”.

  4. Count me in as one of the affected/pissed off. Way too trusting of these sites, they offer up a chance to submit your email info in order to sift through their own database for common contacts. Instead, they’re leeching your contact list.

    Well, there goes the neighborhood. However the silver lining is that we’ll all be much more hesitant to embrace anything all these lines again (good for us, bad for start-ups).

    Thanks for the update, Robert.

  5. I am still staggered that people will give their email login details to some random 3rd party website they just heard of.

    Guess it’s just me.

  6. I am still staggered that people will give their email login details to some random 3rd party website they just heard of.

    Guess it’s just me.

  7. I think a number of good honest examples have made many of us trust anyone who humbly declares themselves a “start-up”. We assume that others have have the same respect for web2′s communal nature that we do. Seven years ago, Tim, it would’ve been un-heard of.

  8. I think a number of good honest examples have made many of us trust anyone who humbly declares themselves a “start-up”. We assume that others have have the same respect for web2′s communal nature that we do. Seven years ago, Tim, it would’ve been un-heard of.

  9. I believe we’ve been lured by the altruistic intentions of sites that are on the up-and-up. Sites like Twitter, FB, Pownce convey a sense of trust that let my guard down – particularly when the invite came from a trusted friend/associate. Seizing that opportunity, this site (I won’t even say their name any longer so I don’t contribute to their search cache), they chose to take advantage of this climate of trust.

    But as one of the recently burned, that’s gone away real fast.

  10. I believe we’ve been lured by the altruistic intentions of sites that are on the up-and-up. Sites like Twitter, FB, Pownce convey a sense of trust that let my guard down – particularly when the invite came from a trusted friend/associate. Seizing that opportunity, this site (I won’t even say their name any longer so I don’t contribute to their search cache), they chose to take advantage of this climate of trust.

    But as one of the recently burned, that’s gone away real fast.

  11. I got the invite last weekend but didn’t bite.

    It’s simple enough to do a quick Web search to check the cred of this site. And, why would you want to create another inbox to manage?

  12. I got the invite last weekend but didn’t bite.

    It’s simple enough to do a quick Web search to check the cred of this site. And, why would you want to create another inbox to manage?

  13. Strange enough, Robert, this helps to validate the strength of the so-called “social graph” you have talked about before.

    When you get recommendations via (unencrypted, unsigned) outlook-email, you can’t safely attest for the veracity of the information you receive.

    But perhaps recommendations coming from people validated in your social graph as “recommenders” would work better ?

    Begs for some interesting thoughts.

  14. Strange enough, Robert, this helps to validate the strength of the so-called “social graph” you have talked about before.

    When you get recommendations via (unencrypted, unsigned) outlook-email, you can’t safely attest for the veracity of the information you receive.

    But perhaps recommendations coming from people validated in your social graph as “recommenders” would work better ?

    Begs for some interesting thoughts.

  15. Robert,

    Thanks for the heads up on this one. This not only saves me the embarrassment of not spamming my friends but also how to create more trust if and when I should create a social networking site. Guess the phrase “Do No Evil” does not apply to every startup on the Internet although it should.

    Thanks!

  16. Robert,

    Thanks for the heads up on this one. This not only saves me the embarrassment of not spamming my friends but also how to create more trust if and when I should create a social networking site. Guess the phrase “Do No Evil” does not apply to every startup on the Internet although it should.

    Thanks!

  17. Robert, I agree with you. I accidentally followed an email from a friend of mine (yours too actually) and Quechup sent emails to everyone in my hotmail address book (including you). I posted an apology this morning: http://www.whatisnew.com/2007/09/08/spammed-by-quechup-dont-make-the-mistake-i-did/

    The upside is that I’ve received emails from friends who I haven’t heard from in a while.

    Though, this certainly doesn’t win my trust of social networking sites beyond those that have already earned my trust.

  18. Robert, I agree with you. I accidentally followed an email from a friend of mine (yours too actually) and Quechup sent emails to everyone in my hotmail address book (including you). I posted an apology this morning: http://www.whatisnew.com/2007/09/08/spammed-by-quechup-dont-make-the-mistake-i-did/

    The upside is that I’ve received emails from friends who I haven’t heard from in a while.

    Though, this certainly doesn’t win my trust of social networking sites beyond those that have already earned my trust.

  19. I got a slew of invites last week, and thought it must be something people were loving, since they were all signing up at once. I even signed up, but there is no way to enter email addresses by hand, or to upload vcards or tab delimited files, and the service didn’t work with .Mac.

    To top it off, there was no way to ‘befriend’ the people who previously had invited me. So, befuddled and annoyed, I walked away. I even twittered my annoyance as I left.

    Looks like I was actually ‘spared’ quite a bit of embarrassment and shame.
    Thanks for the post!

  20. I got a slew of invites last week, and thought it must be something people were loving, since they were all signing up at once. I even signed up, but there is no way to enter email addresses by hand, or to upload vcards or tab delimited files, and the service didn’t work with .Mac.

    To top it off, there was no way to ‘befriend’ the people who previously had invited me. So, befuddled and annoyed, I walked away. I even twittered my annoyance as I left.

    Looks like I was actually ‘spared’ quite a bit of embarrassment and shame.
    Thanks for the post!

  21. An interesting twist. I signed up, but when it came to the part of adding “friends”, it gave a choice of email apps. So I chose the email app that didn’t have anything in the address book. Problem is, it happened to use the same pw as the address I used in part 1 of the sign-up. Went thru the step, and Quechup told me there were no people added (which would have been true.) So I thought I was fine. But they apparently must have tried using the same pw with the address I used in step 1 – and also accessed the address book for that email – the used a different app! Fortunately, there was not a lot there. But definitely a sneaky move. And perhaps not exactly legal?

  22. An interesting twist. I signed up, but when it came to the part of adding “friends”, it gave a choice of email apps. So I chose the email app that didn’t have anything in the address book. Problem is, it happened to use the same pw as the address I used in part 1 of the sign-up. Went thru the step, and Quechup told me there were no people added (which would have been true.) So I thought I was fine. But they apparently must have tried using the same pw with the address I used in step 1 – and also accessed the address book for that email – the used a different app! Fortunately, there was not a lot there. But definitely a sneaky move. And perhaps not exactly legal?

  23. You probably got an invite from me – sorry!

    Like many others, I actually deleted my Quechup account when I found out what it was doing. And like many others, I then found that – AFTER I’d deleted my account – it sent out a load of spam to everyone in my address book. Let me say that again – Quechup sent out spam purporting to be from me, after I’d deleted my account with them.

    Horrible.

  24. You probably got an invite from me – sorry!

    Like many others, I actually deleted my Quechup account when I found out what it was doing. And like many others, I then found that – AFTER I’d deleted my account – it sent out a load of spam to everyone in my address book. Let me say that again – Quechup sent out spam purporting to be from me, after I’d deleted my account with them.

    Horrible.

  25. It really goes to show the value of “trust” in the Word of Mouth process. I first signed up from the earliest of early spam mails I heard/saw/received. It came from a friend of mine within the social media industry that I have 100% faith in. Getting an invite from him always (or at least used to) equate to an instant registration on that particular site.

    Sadly, Quechup has committed what amounts to cyber-terrorism… making me rethink the things I once thought were safe and will likely never be able to believe are safe again. Boo on them.

  26. It really goes to show the value of “trust” in the Word of Mouth process. I first signed up from the earliest of early spam mails I heard/saw/received. It came from a friend of mine within the social media industry that I have 100% faith in. Getting an invite from him always (or at least used to) equate to an instant registration on that particular site.

    Sadly, Quechup has committed what amounts to cyber-terrorism… making me rethink the things I once thought were safe and will likely never be able to believe are safe again. Boo on them.

  27. http://simra.net/blog/why_facebook_s_days_are_numbered

    Robert, I know you are one of Facebook’s biggest fans, but I think things like Quechup, coupled with Facebook opening up to third party developers is the harbinger of things to come. Already we get unwanted app spam from unwitting friends on facebook- and then we surrender our personal info to the developers of these apps. Something bad is bound to come of this…

  28. http://simra.net/blog/why_facebook_s_days_are_numbered

    Robert, I know you are one of Facebook’s biggest fans, but I think things like Quechup, coupled with Facebook opening up to third party developers is the harbinger of things to come. Already we get unwanted app spam from unwitting friends on facebook- and then we surrender our personal info to the developers of these apps. Something bad is bound to come of this…

  29. After Plaxo once pulled this one on me, no site is getting access to my personal address book. I got one, entered it, but once it looked like a dating site (not social network @ all) I killed it.

    As the addresses in my address book of most people are their private addresses (or work) i refrain from giving access to this information. If necessary I’ll let them know via other means that a site seems to be interesting.

    A blog about this button probably would be more effective :)

  30. After Plaxo once pulled this one on me, no site is getting access to my personal address book. I got one, entered it, but once it looked like a dating site (not social network @ all) I killed it.

    As the addresses in my address book of most people are their private addresses (or work) i refrain from giving access to this information. If necessary I’ll let them know via other means that a site seems to be interesting.

    A blog about this button probably would be more effective :)

  31. I signed up before I read your alert, Robert, but fortunately, I make it a policy (on every site) to never feed in address books. This was the site that would not allow me to enter my city in New Zealand! It insisted I needed to insert a ‘region’ and there is no corresponding one for any of the major cities here—guess it’s only for Kiwis who live in smaller towns and in the country!

  32. I signed up before I read your alert, Robert, but fortunately, I make it a policy (on every site) to never feed in address books. This was the site that would not allow me to enter my city in New Zealand! It insisted I needed to insert a ‘region’ and there is no corresponding one for any of the major cities here—guess it’s only for Kiwis who live in smaller towns and in the country!

  33. I first found out it was a spam engine through Twitter, quite a few of my friends chronicled the process and dismay of the whole thing. Then I got a few invites, I checked it out and thought it didn’t look Web 2.0 enough so I didn’t even try it. I’m glad I didn’t. Thank goodness for Twitter and my friends. Glad to see a post from you on it.

  34. I first found out it was a spam engine through Twitter, quite a few of my friends chronicled the process and dismay of the whole thing. Then I got a few invites, I checked it out and thought it didn’t look Web 2.0 enough so I didn’t even try it. I’m glad I didn’t. Thank goodness for Twitter and my friends. Glad to see a post from you on it.

  35. Wow, I knew your blog was popular but I had no idea that you had 100 million readers that read your negative review of MSN Spaces then went and signed up anyway! I’m impressed :)

    Thanks for the heads-up, unfortunately it only takes one of your friends that has your email address to not heed warnings and sign-up for you to get spammed. Hopefully, won’t be getting too many.

    GO GIANTS!

  36. Wow, I knew your blog was popular but I had no idea that you had 100 million readers that read your negative review of MSN Spaces then went and signed up anyway! I’m impressed :)

    Thanks for the heads-up, unfortunately it only takes one of your friends that has your email address to not heed warnings and sign-up for you to get spammed. Hopefully, won’t be getting too many.

    GO GIANTS!

  37. I had a bunch of invite e-mails this autumn from people whom I could never suspect to invite me to such network.
    So, now the mystery is solved.
    I wonder did they thought about consequences and community reaction to this dirty trick?

  38. I had a bunch of invite e-mails this autumn from people whom I could never suspect to invite me to such network.
    So, now the mystery is solved.
    I wonder did they thought about consequences and community reaction to this dirty trick?

  39. Another great post, Robert.

    I’ve been promoting social networking with clients, friends and colleagues. I agree, sites like this are adding to ‘social networking fatigue.’

    In fact, friends that I’ve connected with through legit sits like Plaxo, Facebook and LinkedIn simply aren’t responding when I have sent them Spock and a few other requests.

    What’s more, the tech laggards in my address book won’t even respond to simple Plaxo address update requests.

    Learning about (or worse, an experience with) sites like Quechup could scare them away from social networking altogether.

    And that would truly suck.

    Patrick Byers
    The Responsible Marketing Blog
    http://responsiblemarketing.com

  40. Another great post, Robert.

    I’ve been promoting social networking with clients, friends and colleagues. I agree, sites like this are adding to ‘social networking fatigue.’

    In fact, friends that I’ve connected with through legit sits like Plaxo, Facebook and LinkedIn simply aren’t responding when I have sent them Spock and a few other requests.

    What’s more, the tech laggards in my address book won’t even respond to simple Plaxo address update requests.

    Learning about (or worse, an experience with) sites like Quechup could scare them away from social networking altogether.

    And that would truly suck.

    Patrick Byers
    The Responsible Marketing Blog
    http://responsiblemarketing.com