Don’t sell out your friends

E-mail There are a lot of websites around that offer the ability to send content to your friends via e-mail. You simply enter your name, e-mail address, and the addresses of friends to whom you’d like to forward that little digital gem. You click Send, and away it goes. Boy, that was easy. Life is good.

Oh, by the way, did you realize that you just potentially sold your friends’ private e-mail addresses to an untrusted 3rd party, who could use the highly coveted information for their own nefarious marketing purposes? Whether intentional or not, you just said, “Hey big corporation. Here’s a handful of active e-mail addresses that my friends actually use. I thought they’d like this funny car commercial, so they’re probably interested in cars. Keep that in mind if you ever need to do any targeted marketing.”

Now, I’m not suggesting that every website out there intends to sell or otherwise use those addresses that you provide for anything; in fact, many have privacy statements to assure us that will never happen. But did you carefully read the fine print, just to be sure? Probably not. My point is that you wouldn’t appreciate having your private e-mail address shared without your consent, and neither do your friends, bub.

While convenient, it’s typically unnecessary to use a website’s sharing tools to broadcast content to your friends. Your own e-mail client is perfectly capable of doing the heavy lifting (after all, your contact list is already loaded there), and browsers like Internet Explorer provide tools to make sharing pages via e-mail even easier. Better yet, ditch e-mail broadcasts altogether and use social bookmarks, such as Windows Live’s own shared favorites feature. It’s far less pushy than e-mail and ensures that your friends’ addresses are kept as private as they want them to be.

– Greg

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19 thoughts on “Don’t sell out your friends

  1. thanks greg good to know, and by the way i cut way down on the web activities so the overload posting should cease. thanks for the mention on that.

  2. lnteresting! Two questions. l can’t remember others’ emails so l send them to myself first – latter forward them to intended recipients. l’m guessing that takes care of that privacy problem?2/ Could you explain the last part about the heavy lifting – not a joke.

  3. @ Tracey – If you find a page that you’d like to share with others, in IE you can click Page > Send Link by E-mail and use your e-mail client to send the link, instead of using the website’s built-in sharing service. Another option is to post a shared favorite on Windows Live, which will automatically notify your network via the What’s New feed.

  4. After being pulled from the Windows Live Clubhouse because it somebody flagged it as inappropriate along with a bunch of other posts (gee thanks, "somebody"), my post has been returned in all its glory. Go check out this post on the new WL Clubhouse and while you’re at it, be sure to rate it there. I’m trying to earn enough points to go to Space Camp. Thanks!@ Bob – welcome back to the "circle of trust," my friend.

  5. Wish I could, Greg. It’s a ‘cracker’ as we say, this side of the Pond:-) If you can, put my rating in for me. Top marks, mind!

  6. OK, l have been to that link before. There is no spot to click for "Clubhouse" or for "sign up" or "join". lt’s very annoying – how do they expect to get any new members?! ls it the correct link Greg?

  7. Never mind l found it. Good grief! Found a way to Clubhouse finally when l clicked for toolbar – l should think they could have made it a little more clear than that. l’m still not sure how people go just to read the blogs. Seems to join you have to apply to write the blogs? Hmm..

  8. @Tracey: It’s tough trying to become a Clubhousse member. I should know – I tried it twice! No luck. Must start a petition, Greg brings all the blogs over to us so we can read ’em as well!

  9. Hey, Greg. Did you see my post on your Geek Test? I am a Total Geek! 34.31953% – Total GeekI scored so low because home computers and calculators did not come out until I was out of school. Bummer. I wish they would have had questions like Do you know Cobol, do you know Fortran, do you know what a keypunch card is, have you typed a keypunch card, do you still have a keypunch card, do you have all your homework and all your keypunch cards and printouts from Fortran and Cobol class. Oh, well, Total Geek is alright.I got bunus points for going to the Rocky Horror Picture Show in costume, alone and for listening to the Doctor Demento Show. I never knew that made me a geek. Oh, and one of the questions was whether you read the dictionary. Doesn’t everybody?X

  10. l want to read all the blogs!! Well really what l want is access to all the blogs. Who are they writing the blogs for anyway?! lf they don’t let bystanders in to the club??

  11. Excellent post! I think this should be at the top of the list of things to read, before you get an email address/internet service! 😉 As my primary, clean, 10 year old hotmail account. Was given away, by someone sharing the address for sending that "digital gem" aka crap to me! :(

  12. I just noticed an article by Becky Waring in the latest Windows Secrets newsletter, which pretty much confirms my suspicions on this issue. Read more at http://windowssecrets.com/comp/090319/#story1 .

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