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We’re seeing some appalling behaviour from social networking wannabe Quechup, which is conducting a massive spam campaign on a scale not seen since the heady days of Dr Mariam Abacha.

If trust is everything, then this is the sort of thing that can kill a brand. Quechup is potentially in a lot of trouble with its users, and legally it is skating on very thin ice.

The problem? You sign up and give Quechup your email password, as is typical with joining most social networks these days, ostensibly to see if your friends have existing profiles so you can connect with them.

But Quechup goes one unauthorised step further - if you sign up it will sneakily invite everybody in your address book to join up, without your permission.

The contrast in its actual behaviour versus what it promises in its privacy policy / terms and conditions could not be greater: “Quechup will not spam or sell addresses from your contacts”. So much for all that...

What else does it say in its policies? Here are a couple of other chestnuts:

“Illegal and/or unauthorized uses of the Website, including collecting usernames and/or email addresses of members by electronic or other means for the purpose of sending unsolicited email and unauthorized framing of or linking to the Website will be investigated, and appropriate legal action will be taken, including without limitation, civil, criminal, and injunctive redress.”

And, joyously…

“Quechup.com and our members do not tolerate Spam. Therefore, without limiting the foregoing, you are not licensed to add a Quechup.com member to your mail list (email or physical mail) without their express written consent after adequate disclosure.”

Damn right its members do not tolerate spam. MY Sun Editor Ilana Fox, who 'invited' me to join the network said:

"Quechup spammed every single person in my Google contacts at 5am this morning when I was fast asleep. In response I've had dozens of emails from friends and colleagues all asking if I'm an insomniac and commenting on my nerve. That people would think I would send emails like this is embarrassing professionally, and I'm incredibly annoyed that any company would think it's acceptable behaviour to take people's personal contacts and use them in this manner. Social networking? Unsocial networking more like."

Quechup has been quiet so far, despite a growing number of critical reports in the tech media and blogosphere. Mitch Ratcliffe over at ZDNet sums it up best when he describes the site as a “social cancer”.

Quechup isn’t new – it launched in November 2005 as a dating site with a “unique” mobile element, allowing users to receive “notifications and profiles”. Since then it has reinvented itself as a generic social site, where users can blog, network, play games, chat online, and so on.

With this latest horseshit spam campaign, one wonders whether anybody will be still using it by the time it reaches its second birthday.

Chris Lake

Published 7 September, 2007 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

Lawrence Ladomery

Lawrence Ladomery, Founder at automatico

I blogged about a similar issue some time ago (http://blablaphobia.blogspot.com/2005/12/tickle-me-not.html).

My point was, and still is, that it's very bad practice to ask a user for his/her log in details to another service (eg. web mails). It's never a good idea to share log in details with anyone.

Most social networks seem to be doing so now. Not only to allow a site to harvest address books for spamming purposes, but to share content between sites. I think there are quite a few Faceook widgets that work this way.

The result is that people are getting used to sharing their log in details with any site that looks remotely legitimate. But what if one is set up for the purposes of stealing people's log in details?

Not sure what the solution is but I think that the respectable businesses out there should never ask for log in details to a third party site.

about 9 years ago

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Mark Smith

Hi all, having read your comments on Quechup I wondered if any of you had heard the rumor of a merger/takeover between Facebook and Quechup? I heard it second-hand from a reliable source, and have to say that it does seem to make business sense in these times of expedited consolidation; particularly as the bulk of Facebook and Quechup traffic seems to come from the same countries, and given that the latter is already owned by a public company. Any info would be gratefully received. Rgds. Mark Smith

almost 9 years ago

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Yury, logo design maniac

I had a bunch of invite e-mails this autumn from people whom I could never suspect to invite me to such network.
So, now the mystery is solved.
I wonder did they thought about consequences and community reaction to this dirty trick?

almost 9 years ago

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Adam Nova

http://www.idatecorp.com/press-release.php?id=6

It appears things have changed at Quechup.......

over 8 years ago

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Steve Richardson

This is not regarding Quechup, but is along the same lines as mentioned above. I have held a hotmail address which was a .com address for many years, I like many other people had signed up for services on the net, and after a period of time, found that my inbox had more junk than actual emails.. When hotmail then set-up the .co.uk domains I was lucky enough to register a new email address, and promised to myself, I would only use it for Messenger services, and use my .com address for signing up for services online. One of my messenger contacts then joined facebook, and I believe (As I'm not a facebook user) the sign up process, asked if he would like to invite his contacts. I received an invite into my new messenger mail, but never signed up. Shortly after this, I started to receive a great deal of junk / spam mail, offering me all the latest gadjets from iPods, to holidays etc...

I have not contacted Facebook in relation to this, as I'm sure they would not admit to giving out mail addresses, but it did make me wonder...

over 8 years ago

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