Update:The efforts to bring Contractjobs.com to account for their spam have had result;, including Email Blaster UK taking action, and the UK Information Commissioner commencing an investigation. More information on the progress of this is available over here.
Well, you know just how much I detest spam – but tonight I’m a little more incensed.
Cast your minds back – and you’ll no doubt you remember the Playstation Network security breach in early 2011, which saw the personal details of users on that service compromised by hackers and leaked out to the world.
Well my details including my primary email address were in the information leaked. Thankfully I practice a high level of security by never using the same password twice, and not storing credit card information as well as using throw-away credit cards or debit cards to reduce the financial risks.
I have previously looked into using disposable email addresses, but these are too much of a hassle in my view. Further, my hosted email provider does not make available the use of DNS-based block lists (such as Spamcop) for filtering out & blocking inbound email from open proxies and known spam hosts despite asking them to do so.
Anyway, let’s get back to the point.
In short, an email came in at 2209hrs AWST from a Lucy Plumridge, Contract Support Manager (Lucy.firstname.lastname@example.org, LinkedIn Profile for Lucy Plumridge) of a UK site named contractjobs.com. Here’s the email in question:
I’m writing to you on behalf of Contractjobs.com.
We would like to introduce you to Contractjobs.com , the UK’s fastest growing contract specific job site. The contract market has grown 14% year on year and many professionals are now turning to the contractor market in order to take advantage of this trend.
Last year we helped thousands of contractors find their next contract role and are already considered to be the largest contract job board in the UK, with over 12,000 live contracts both with the UK’s leading agencies and direct clients.
Please take a moment to upload your CV and you will be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to the London 2012 Olympics this summer*.
We look forward to working with you.
Contract Support Manager
*The competition draw will be held on Friday 25th May 2012. The winners will be notified by email and details published on the Contractjobs.com website.
Contractjobs.com, Mortimer House, 40 Chatsworth Parade, London, BR51DE, United Kingdom
Our mailing address is:
40 Chatsworth Parade
Kent BR5 1DE Communication was sent to you byLucy Plumridge
This system is for permission based email;
report abuse . I do not wish to receive any
Now I know I’ve never done business with them, never supplied them with my email address, nor ever given them or a 3rd party they might deal with to contact me. The fact they were a UK operation was more interesting, as I’ve never expressed or sought out employment opportunities in the UK.
So, the only way they could have come into possession of my address is either via a purchased list, and especially one that was compiled from illegally or improperly sourced details.
Analysing the email, they used a eDM (electronic direct mail) house called Email Blaster UK. Now not withstanding the comprehensive regulations and directives on contained within Article 13 of the European Commission Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications – Email Blaster make it expressly clear in their terms of service that;
We do not allow clients to use purchased lists under any circumstances – this applies to both B2B & B2B marketing, email databases must have been generated directly by the client’s website using the recognized Opt-in process.
So, with the EC regulations/directives and the companies stated terms of service – Contractjobs has broken the rules.
Thankfully, the Email Blaster team was hot on the case within 21 minutes of me contacting them. I’d received a response from one of their Account Managers; advising that any references to my email address or domain within the databases they hold for Contractjobs.com have been immediately removed, and that they are immediately opening an investigation into the TOS violation.
And I’d hate to be Contractjobs.com at the moment – because Email Blaster charge clients GBP 150 for each confirmed spam incident. If they have purchased or used a harvested mailing list, they could be in for some serious charges and penalties from their email last night.
Now you might be wondering why I’ve written this post – and I’m happy to tell you. I’m of the view that communication is the best weapon in preventing spam & generating awareness of the problem. And being an SEO Practitioner, I know full well that the way I’ve structured this blog entry will ensure that, in perpetuity, this incident will be permanently tagged and forever appear in the search results for Contractjobs.com. It’ll serve as a clear warning for anyone considering to use their services that they are a confirmed spammer, breached their countries anti-spam rules, and have purchased email lists obtained by illegal means.
And if you don’t think this works, ask Pav Sanka and his company VinSky Consulting International what happened after he sent me LinkedIn spam. It had immediate impacts in search engine results.
And if you know me personally, ask me about StarTrack Express and what happened to them in January 2005 after their played depot soccer with a package being delivered to me. A former blog I used to ran documented the whole incident, to the point where three negative and fully documented blog entries appeared about their own site in search results for their company name. It was even to the point where their own IT people attempted to take down my blog (a bad move, as I posted the entire log file and details of what they attempted online, creating another SEO entry outranking their own site – ouch).
So yes, nice move Contractjobs.com. Your stupidity by buying email lists obtained from hacking activities has just landed you in a nice little SEO hole. I’ll sleep easy tonight knowing that your reputation will be permanently tarnished because of your own stupidity and non-existent business ethics.