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'Tis the Season for e-cards - Chronarchy

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December 19th, 2011


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04:49 pm - 'Tis the Season for e-cards
This morning, I got my first e-card of the season. For those wondering, I dropped her a note first, and then realized that with the secular Christmas holiday coming up, it might be wise to make a note of this for general consumption:

Please, do not send me an e-card.

I mean it. For anything, ever, really. Under any circumstance. I don't care how cool/funny/awesome it is.

The basic premise behind e-cards is something that we would consider abhorrent if a corporation did it to us: it is the providing, without prior consent, of someone's personal information (in this case, an e-mail address) to a third party, who then sends an unsolicited e-mail. Typically, depending on the site's privacy policy, there are then no protections to prevent the storage or even the provision of that information to another third party.

It is, essentially, the very definition of spam e-mail. Apparently, it might even be illegal in some countries. I expect that most reputable sites have improved on this formula: the privacy policy from one company I read today seemed to provide some limited protections, though there was no explicit statement that really soothed my increasingly contract-savvy eyes.

Because they take you to a site on the web (typically), they are also hard to differentiate between phishing schemes and malicious websites, and they undermine the best advice of security professionals everywhere: if you weren't expecting it, don't click on it! This particular issue makes it hard for me to understand why any corporation uses third-party sites: once you tell someone it's okay to click on a link from one third-party vendor, how do you tell them not to click on someone else's link, especially if it looks sort of similar?

No one, however, ever sends an e-card to be a jerk. Everyone does it because they are thoughtful. To which I say, "Dude, that's awesome." But I'd rather be a lonely e-mail address on a big BCC: list than a person whose e-mail got shared.

I really do appreciate the sentiment. But generally, I'd rather not know about the sentiment in this case. It's not about "bah, humbug" on the holiday spirit: it's really just about what an e-card site truly is. Spam.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: "Stars Fell on Alabama", -JB

(14 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:gracedoyen
Date:December 20th, 2011 01:11 pm (UTC)
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You made some excellent points I'd never even thought of! thank you! :-)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 20th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
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Np. It's easy to do things like this without really thinking too deeply, because of two key things: 1) it's a nice thing to do, and 2) they make it so easy. And when it's easy to be nice, it's hard to fault someone for it :)

So, like I said: awesome sentiment, but e-cards sort of creep me out. . . :)
[User Picture]
From:romandruid
Date:December 20th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, I can't tell the difference between e-cards and phishing scams. I delete them all. *shrug*
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 20th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
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Yep, that's a central issue with them. They are virtually indistinguishable. They go straight to my trash folder. Because many of them include direct links that are clearly unique, I won't even click on them to see if they might be legit: clicking on a link like that just confirms that they sent to a live e-mail address.

Which is a shame, really.
[User Picture]
From:seamus_mcnasty
Date:December 20th, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
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yep ecards bad, email holiday wishes not so bad. You want to email me as a person some nice thoughts then it doesn't bother me it's no different than any other email. With facebook, livejournal, twitter and other ways we communicate it is getting harder to make sure we send something of value and doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
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From:anivair
Date:December 20th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
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I tend to send anything that I might want to send in e-card format as a wall posting on facebook. then you control how much information is free to the public yourself. I just post my funny thing without much baggage.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 23rd, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
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Well, that explains the somewhat ironic (or snarky?) card the MG chose: "have a peaceful and green holiday," written on a paper card. I saw the humor you guys brought to the holidays!

It's a shame, though, that it's become so cost prohibitive that we have to end one of the most popular things the MG does.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 23rd, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
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I admit, I worry that the more virtual we become, the less real Our Druidry will be.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:sariah
Date:December 27th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
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Just a thought on this: Are postcards a viable option, rather than folding cards? They use less paper and require less postage.

~jenn
[User Picture]
From:hearthstone
Date:December 22nd, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
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You know, I'd never thought about it like that.

I don't send e-cards anyway (nor paper cards, for that matter) but hey, more reasons not to!

Happy holidays, btw :)!
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 22nd, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
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Happy holidays to you as well! I hope the sun caught your eye this morning!

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