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August 09, 2005
Fox Calls for Better Henhouse Security
SMS.Ac is hoping for a PR boost from a press release offering a cellular customer bill of rights. (The release went out over the signature of CEO Michael Pousti, right. from sms-report.com.)
But this had many of us falling out of our chairs laughing. As Oliver Starr of the Mobile Weblog notes (and my experience is identical) the business of SMS.AC is built on spam.
Here's Oliver's charge:
This is a company about which DOZENS of websites have multitudes of individuals complaining of things such as spamming everyone in their personal address books, which they exposed to SMS.ac during what can only be described as a deliberately deceptive sign-up process where unsuspecting people, many of them young or speaking English as a second or third language unwittingly provide the username and password to their primary email accounts, thus making it possible for SMS.ac to scour their friends and family member's addresses and solicit them with messages that look as if they come not from SMS.ac directly but from the known individual that subscribed to the service.
Here's my experience. I signed up to pass messages, but unwittingly I signed a contract stating I would pay for all messages. What I got were endless repeats of the same message, usually reading something like "Kathy wants to be your friend."
It's a scam. (Fortunately, I was able to close out my account over there with relative ease. Let's give them their props there.)
Google Groups has over 1,100 messages on SMS.AC, and most are repeats of the same story. There are also reports at news.admin.net-abuse.sightings of SMS.AC spams, and a ripoff alert concerning their use of Cingular at comp.dcom.telecom.
I'm not making this stuff up. It took me less time to learn this than it would take to, say, Google Dr. Eric Schmidt. Yet looking at the News file on SMS.AC, you see this press release has been digested hook, line and sinker.
There's a lesson here. A blogger is someone who'll make a mistake that could be fixed in a five-minute phone call. A journalist is someone who'll make a mistake that could be fixed in a five-minute search session.
It's time we found some common ground.
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business Strategy | Internet | Journalism | cellular | ethics | spam
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