Spammed by Quechup. Don’t make the mistake I did.

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I had to wait a day before posting because I was so upset by what happened: Quechup spammed everyone in my hotmail address book with an email titled, "Invite from Lora Heiny…."

Mistake #1: I followed a mass email link that had been sent from a trusted friend that took me to Quechup, a social networking site. (Now I know that this person probably didn’t know the email had been sent either.) As I’ve been on LinkedIn for quite some time, and am playing around with Facebook and MySpace, I thought it’d be good to see what yet another social networking site’s take was on the trend.

Mistake #2: Facebook and MySpace politely will check your email address lists and tell you who is registered on their sites. Quechup had the same feature – or so I incorrectly thought – and I went into that section, then cancelled out. My "click just to see" got me into trouble. Apparently, Quechup still sent the invites to everyone in my @hotmail.com address book.

Now, if it had been my gmail or yahoo address book there would have been a few dozen email addresses. For spam mail to go unselectively to everyone would have been rude, but forgiveable because of the people in that address book. However, it was my primary personal email address at
hotmail. The email address that I’ve used for the last four Tablet PC gatherings, family, high school friends, college friends, responses to people’s inquiries from tabletquestions, tabletpcpost, umpcbuzz, and of course whatisnew. Press, reviewers, analysts, collegues. Oh, yes, and all the people on my Messenger list. Yep, pretty much anyone who I’ve had contact with for the last few years got this spam email.

A friend and whatisnew reader sent the first indication to me that something was wrong. Didn’t I know that Quechup was a spam site? No, I haven’t been following that. I should have. Oh, now I feel behind. I didn’t know until very late on Thursday night. I called my parents to make sure Dad deleted the email and didn’t follow the link too. A Friday morning conversation with Loren let me know that the problem was much worse than I had anticipated. He said he’d post a warning to people, then I’d write more when I was a bit "calmer" and "more reasonable" about the matter.

Apology #1: One of my great aunts was the first family to reply. She couldn’t open the attachment. Thank goodness for her @aol.com address. It protected her. So, I wrote back to her describing how to delete the email, that it wasn’t a virus or anything dangerous, but it was spam. Of course, I attached a few family photos, told her how I’m enjoying work, and asked how peach season went.

Apology #2: First cousin, once removed on Dad’s side. He couldn’t open the attachment either. Phew. After telling him to delete the message, apologizing that it was an accident, etc. we exchanged emails about how almond harvesting in Central California is going for him.

Apology #3: A college friend and his wife who I haven’t heard from in quite a while. They had a baby on Monday, they are healthy, elated and exhausted. Apologies and congratulations sent at the same time. Again, great to hear from them.

Many, many emails are still unanswered in my InBox. Today, I’m going through one by one trying to thoughtfully reply. I guess I should have been better at communicating with people all along. Some are on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Spaces. Those are the social networking sites that I’ll stay in. My trust of these sites is depeleted.

As soon as I knew there was a problem, I did send email to Quechup feedback. It was an angry complaint. I demanded, "How can this be fixed?" Well, I know that my apologies to the people who were spammed are probably all that will happen. However, Quechup has not responded. I’d be happier if they did respond because it means that they at least care a little. Poor customer support stops me from using a product faster than anything else.

So, I am sorry that I logged into Quechup, sorry that they stole your email addresses and spammed you. I feel helpless about it. I apologize. Please do let me know though if you’re on LinkedIn or
Facebook (family and close friends, MySpace) and I’ll gladly add you.

Note: If you have signed up for Quechup, change your email password immediately.