Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Spock.com: a little evil
I just had an disconcerting experience from the website Spock.com. They want to be the 'Google, of People search' according to CEO Jaideep Singh.
But I have my doubts.
Not that it's not a good idea, but more because of the tactics they use to get information.
I signed up for it a few months ago when it first went public. Cool. Interesting. Didn't work very well yet but to be expected for a brand new/beta system.
I checked it out again last night and it had a new 'check for your friends' feature that allows you to import your email address book and find people you know on Spock. Nothing overly odd there, lots of sites do this.
What's not good, is how they misrepresented what they were doing.
I went ahead and had them check my gmail address book. It came back with 'found X profiles on Spock, would you like to connect?'
Not invite, connect. At least, that was the implication (I don't remember the exact phrasing).
Well, it proceeded to send out emails to all those people with ME as the sender asking them to join Spock.
Turns out they didn't have accounts already. They just had what appears to be spidered profiles scraped off the internet and aggregated on Spock.
What they did with me was use my name and contact list to 'validate' those profiles and get the users to log into Spock without really telling me what they were doing. They implied that these people already had profiles and I was just adding them to my network.
Instead they effectively conned me into letting them use my name to get a bunch of people to sign up for a service I'm not sure I'll use, let alone recommend. Actually, I can tell you now: I do not recommend them.
This is slightly evil, maybe even a bit more.
So, to my friends and associates: I'm sorry. I was suckered. You can bet it won't happen again.