Kraft Foods In The Spam Business?

from the someone-should-tell-Hormel... dept

One of the things that makes the spam business so sneaky is that many legitimate companies end up as spammers because they don’t carefully check how their email marketing campaigns are done. That is, a well known consumer products company may hire an email marketing firm to run a campaign, and that firm farms the work out to an affiliate, and that affiliate passes it on to a spammer and so forth down the chain from “legitimate” to “pure spammer.” It happens all the time, but the companies involved often aren’t held accountable. That may be changing. An ISP is suing Kraft International Foods and its Gevalia Coffee subsidiary for spamming. The ISP created a one-time email address and used it to sign up for the Gevalia Coffee mailing list — and then clicked the opt-out link in the email. Not only did that email address keep getting spam from Gevalia, but also from other, less reputable spammers. The email messages basically included all the usual spam tricks: “misleading sender names, falsified headers with fake IP addresses, omitted physical addresses and non-working reply addresses.” Of course, one problem with suing Kraft is that CAN SPAM lets them wash their hands of the matter by passing the blame and saying they had no idea what their affiliates and email marketers did — which seems to give absolutely the wrong incentive to companies. As long as they pass it off to someone and don’t care about it, they’re not liable for any spam sent in their name.

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Comments on “Kraft Foods In The Spam Business?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Coke does the same thing… I used a unique ‘coke’ only email address on their website (as part of feedback), and within weeks, that address was getting hammered with penis enlargement offers and the likes.

Now, I am not saying that ‘coke’ did this — for all I know it was an unethical employee who snarfs the email addys and sells them on the side.

Either way though, they are responsible for the spam since the email address was supplied to them, and from there the spammers got it.

Wonder how many other companies are responsible for spam… I know that sells email addresses (xmas2004@….)

Joe Wagner (user link) says:

Gevalia opt-out

Hi, I read your article about our action against Gevalia for their spam. I just wanted to drop a quick note of clarification. Our test address was not first signed up for Gevalia’s spam then opted out. Rather we submitted to Gevalia’s own opt-out webpage a new email address that was never used before or since. And that address is what started getting new, non-gevalia related spam.

Interesting side note. Gevalia was sued last year by LL Bean for for Gevalia pop-up adds being placed over LL Bean’s website by adware services. Gevalia’s senior management was shocked–shocked to hear this was happening. Hmmm…


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