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jdavidb (1361)

jdavidb
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http://voiceofjohn.blogspot.com/

J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Thursday May 06, 2004
08:55 AM

Netflix are spammers

[ #18650 ]

I haven't (yet) used Netflix, but I just decided I'm never going to. (For some value of "never" that might change if I determine they've cleaned up their act.) For those of you who do, I'd like to inform you that Netflix is indirectly supporting despicable spam. I say despicable because it just keeps coming, and coming, and coming.

I have a friend off of a web forum I've participated in for two years. Awhile back I got an all HTML email from her with a big graphic and a note that said, "Hey! Go here, and we'll both get free movie tickets!" This friend is of the "random forwards to your mailbox" type, so I didn't think much of it. But a day or so later, I got another invitation. And another, and another.

After about two weeks of ignoring this (it gets past my spam filter, btw) I finally got one that said it was my "last offer." By now I'd decided my friend wasn't sending these directly; at first I thought she'd gone nuts and was going to this site every day to fill in a long list of friends to spam with this offer, but I realized that the email came only with her first initial and last name, unlike her other mails. "At last," I thought, "either she or this site has given up, and I can forget about it."

Not so, of course. The first rule of spammers is that spammers always lie, right? Another week later, I was again getting ads from my good friend "G" telling me to "go here" so we could both get free movie tickets!!!!! (And who wouldn't want free movie tickets, right?)

Today I finally noticed the small print unsubscribe link at the bottom of the mail. Now, of course, spammers always lie, so I usually don't even bother to look for or use whatever unsubscribe policy they claim to provide, but I've gotten very fed up with this impersonation of my friend and decided I'd try anything. I clicked on the link and was presented with a very slow-loading page filled with ads. The page loaded so slowly that by the time I got my email address filled in and was ready to click submit the icon for that button hadn't even loaded yet. As I clicked, however, I noticed a prominent Netflix ad over to the right. At last, a name for my pain!

Now this website is not Netflix itself, but Netflix is advertising there. In other words, Netflix is taking the money they earn from their business, a business I used to think was a great idea, and sponsoring a bunch of spammers, people so despicable they would actively lie about their identity, impersonating my friend, in order to get me to buy their drek. Folks, netflix isn't going to take a single one of my hard-earned dimes for this kind of garbage. I wish those of you who use them would tell them how you feel.

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  • I just sent the following to Netflix [mailto]:

    Subject: Your ad means I will NEVER use your product

      I recently got married; while I personally never owned more than four DVDs in my life and rarely rented movies, my wife grew up in a home where tapes and DVDs lined the walls, and trips to the local movie rental happened every few days.  Since I met her, my lifestyle has changed to be much more like hers.  Suddenly movie rentals are a very common occurrence.  I had been giving some consideratio

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • Did you talk to your friend to see if she gave them your email address?

    The reason I ask is, it seems like what is happening to you is exactly what they say will happen in their privacy statement.

    FreeFlixTix uses personally identifiable user information for the purposes of the FreeFlixTix website and the FreeFlixTix referral and movie-admission-certificate-earning credit system. For example, we use email addresses of users, and of those persons provided on their referral lists, to send an invitation to the

    • I've asked, and I'm sure she gave it. On the surface the primary unreasonable thing they seem to be doing is sending so many emails, but really, when you think about it, this is a business that exists for solely the purpose of harvesting email addresses. They have a scheme to build an exponentially growing list of email addresses, which I'm sure is for sale to whoever wants it.

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Who cares what they say? If they sent unsolicited bulk mail, they're spammers.
      • I agree vehemently. It was very unsolicited, and very bulk. As I said, they seem to have a perfect scheme to collect an exponentially growing database of valid email addresses here, without ever having to get the permission of people as their addresses are added. I wouldn't be surprised if it's all just a front for a mailing list collection agency which then goes on to sell the lists.

        --
        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers