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Uploading your address book to social media

I am one of the moderators of a discussion list working on a document about getting off blocklists. If anyone not on the list attempts to post to the list I get a moderation request. One came through while I was gone.
linkedinspam Now, I don’t really think Jim Mills wants to be friends with a mailing list. I think he probably gave LinkedIn his email password and LinkedIn went through and scraped addresses out of his address book and sent invitations to all those addresses.
I don’t have any problem with connecting to people on social media. I do even understand that some people have no problem giving their passwords over to let social media sites plunder their address books and find connections. What I do have a problem with is social media sites that don’t do any pruning or editing of the scraped addresses before sending invitations.
In this case, the email address, like many mailing lists, has in the email address “mailman.” While it’s probably impossible to weed out every mailing list, support address and commercial sender, it doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult to run some minor word matching and filtering. It’s not even like those addresses have to be removed from invites. Instead they could be presented to the user for confirmation that these are real people and addresses.
Yes, it’s friction in the transaction and it costs money to do and do well. But those costs and friction are currently offloaded onto uninvolved third parties.

8 comments

  1. Martijn says

    I ‘monitor’ a lot of discussion lists. LinkedIn invites sent to the list are a common occurrence – and I only see things that weren’t blocked by the moderation software. I don’t remember ever seeing Facebook, or Twitter invites. (I do see lots of invites from dodgy networks.)

  2. Bill S says

    I’ve never given LinkedIn any passwords to my email accounts, Facebook, Twitter or anything, but they amazingly identify people that I may know and the only way they possibly could have found these people is via my address books. Perhaps I made a mistake along the way, but those guys always seem to be doing something fishy.

  3. Martijn says

    The other people could have uploaded their address book – or given them access to their email accounts. That would make LI know that they knew you, and thus that you probably knew them.

  4. Martijn says

    (Not saying that’s good, by the way. And – if it really works this way – it could be quit freaky if you had an email stalker.)

  5. Al Iverson says

    Then there’s the flip side of this, people who use LinkedIn for list building. I got added to yet another list by somebody I’m connected to on LinkedIn yesterday. I sent a polite note to the ESP asking, hey could you educate your customer, and I’m pretty confident they will. Then I de-connected from that person on LinkedIn.
    I wish I could give out a different tagged address to each LinkedIn connection. The spamtrap-seeding opportunities would be very interesting.

  6. John says

    Hi,
    Is it possible to get invited into the doc? I would be very interested in joining and speaking with others in the same situation.

  7. Leo G says

    I get this kind of spam every and it’s very irritating. Further more if your part of an unmoderated list, it just amplifies the noise

  8. How (and Why) to Block LinkedIn from Accessing Exchange Servers says

    […] Is this a bad thing? Absolutely. especially when LinkedIn has trouble telling the difference between a mailbox and a mailing list. […]

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