Chronarchy (chronarchy) wrote,

'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.
Tags: amusement, friends
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