July 15, 2002
Dialpad.com spam

A loong time ago (possibly around the fall of 1999 or in the winter of 2000), I gave the dialpad service a spin (they do cheap, IP-based telephony for consumers). Even with my net connection (at the time: 100Mbit/s switched, directly onto fibre to the Norwegian academic backbone) the service was slow, lagged and proved unreliable (unable to speak, could just listen), so I ditched it after the first or second try. When I registered for the service, I did as I usually do - using a uniquely identifiable email-address - and opting out of all possible email-lists, announcements and of course - the most important - any third party mailings.

I didn't think anymore about dialpad until recently, after I installed SpamAssassin. I don't check nearly all my received spam (now counting over 1000 filtered spam-messages since the installation some 5 weeks ago), but the last few days I noticed something disturbing: the address I registered for dialpad with is being used by spammers!

A quick check of the Dialpad Privacy Policy (they even claim it's TrustE validated) reveals:

Our web site provides you with the opportunity to opt-in to receive important updates regarding the Dialpad service at the point where we request information about you. Our web site also provides you with the opportunity to opt-in to receive promotional materials from Dialpad and/or its partners at such point. If you choose not to opt-in to receive communications from Dialpad, you shall not receive future communications.

The reason I'm writing this rant is that - despite me opting out at time of registration - they have shared my address with their "partners". Their partners (based on random samples of recently received spam) include link2buy.com, dirtcheapdomain.com, freeinkjets.com, "Unclaimed Funds Department - Found Money.com" and other annoying offers I'm not interested in...

Thank God for SpamAssassin, which filters the junk away, but it is still annoying (and I assume a lot of their 14 million (claimed) users don't have the same filtering capability nor the knowledge of who gave the spammers their email address.....)

I hereby embark on my journey to complain to dialpad and TrustE and will try to post updates to the blog if something happens in this case...

[More or less related information:
:: dslreports.com tried putting a unique email address onto a webpage to track spam
:: Palmgear(.com?) has similarly sold email addresses]

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