Tagged.com Will Spam Your Friends And Family

Tagged.com has been around for a few years now, but it’s spread across the Internet with a vengeance in the last few weeks. The service promotes itself by getting inside the address book or e-mail contacts of people who sign up and e-mailing everyone they know. It’s disingenuous, since the e-mail looks like an invitation from your friend or family member…but they didn’t initiate it at all.

Let this serve as a warning: don’t sign up with tagged.com, and warn anyone in your life who you think may be susceptible to this kind of scam.

The text of the message looks like this:

[Name redacted] has added you as a friend
Is [Name] your friend?

Click Yes if [Name] is your friend, otherwise click No.
But you have to click!

Please respond or [Name] may think you said no :(

Guilt-tripping me with a frowny face? That’s low. Now, the e-mail claims that either your friend wants to share pictures with you or has added you as a friend, but neither is true. The site has simply harvested your entire address book.

This behavior is item F under their Terms of Service:

E) Notice Regarding Commercial Email

MEMBERS CONSENT TO RECEIVE COMMERCIAL E-MAIL MESSAGES FROM TAGGED, AND ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT THEIR EMAIL ADDRESSES AND OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION MAY BE USED BY TAGGED FOR THE PURPOSE OF INITIATING COMMERCIAL E-MAIL MESSAGES.

It’s the only item in all caps, so you know it’s important. Caps lock: cruise control for importance.

The e-mails asking you to sign up for Tagged include a URL to block all future e-mails from the service. That address is http://www.tagged.com/no_more_conf.html?blckd=youremail@here.net.

Tagged.com [McAfee Site Advisor] (The company considers the site “safe,” but look at the user complaints)
Tagged [Snopes.com]

Comments

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  1. Brain.wav says:

    So that’s what that is… one of my old college friends has been sending me weird emails like that. Not tagged.com but something similar.

    • Mirshaan says:

      @Brain.wav:

      hi5 is very similar and spammy… that could be it…

      I accidentally spammed all my friends and family one day when I (stupidly) signed up for hi5….

      Watch out for that one too…

  2. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    I got one of those; marked it as Spam in GMail. Why would I give up my email addy to these guys to opt out when they’re known for misusing email?

  3. lasbrisas says:

    What a scam! Why isn’t this considered spyware and blocked by good security software?

    • katstermonster says:

      @lasbrisas: Because it doesn’t infiltrate your computer, as far as I can tell. It only accesses web-based mail, so there’s nothing for security software to detect. It doesn’t place spyware or other malware on your computer.

    • nakedscience says:

      @lasbrisas: How would security software block something that accesses only web-based e-mail?

  4. Grant Gannon says:

    I got an email from my aunt wanting to ‘share photos’ with me. I assumed it was something of my cousins.

    Thankfully I declined the option that allowed them to invade my gmail.

    Once gmail spam block later and I’m clear of tagged.com email annoyance.

  5. Mike_ says:

    We get a lot of these at the role accounts (e.g. sales, info, etc.) where I work. Sorry, Linda, but webmaster is not your friend. Friends don’t give friends’ email addresses to spammers.

  6. idip says:

    Funny apparently my mom sent this email last night. I was all like… my mom doesn’t have tagged. She doesn’t do those social networking things.

    Aside from the fact that I hate them and think that there are WAY too many people know WAY TOO much about their lives… social networking sites are slow.

    We don’t do those.

  7. bornonbord says:

    I met some dude traveling who invited me to Tagged. I joined, saw there was nothing to see, and haven’t been back since.

    What was that about cruise control?

    DUDE WAS A TOOL ANYHOW AND I DON’T MISS KEEPING IN TOUCH.

  8. theblackdog says:

    I’ve gotten these a few times as well, hopefully enough reports to Yahoo will make their spam filter throw them out for me.

  9. Biggbrother says:

    I had a Tagged account about 6 months ago but I canceled it right away because the amount of spam I was receiving shot up exponentially after I signed up with them. I only signed up because family. Big mistake!

  10. dreamlayers says:

    Yaari is another site which does stuff like this.

  11. SoFlaSnowMan says:

    I received the almost identical email from a (not very technical) friend. Only this one was for MyLife.com. Researching this site showed that MyLife was originally called reunion.com and had developed a very poor reputation for getting a hold of members’ address books and spamming the members’ associates.

    • ophmarketing says:

      @SoFlaSnowMan: I got the same one from MyLife. I thought it was suspicious, since the “friend” who “sent” it to me can barely keep up her Facebook page, so I thought it odd that she would add another site to the mix. Rather than click ‘yes’ or ‘no’, I went to the MyLife site, where you can search members’ names. As I suspected, her name isn’t even listed. Delete.

    • MissPiss says:

      @SoFlaSnowMan: That sorry ass website will create profiles of you for every social networking profile you create. Im in a battle with MyLife to delete my profiles that they made of me. Its so annoying.

  12. pjstevens77 says:

    I got one from my wife the other day, so I forwarded it to her and she had no idea, I knew it was BS, “you have to click” F YOU Tagged!!!

  13. Scott Brenner says:

    My mom was 1 second away from giving Tagged her Yahoo e-mail address when I stopped her. She received a message, supposedly from an old college friend, and thought she had to provide her e-mail address *and* password to see the pictures this friend had posted.

    The bigger lesson here is that less tech-savvy people don’t always understand the difference between giving someone (or some web site) their e-mail *address* (which can be bad enough) and giving their e-mail *PASSWORD*. So many services now “offer” (gee, thanks!) to scan your address list to see who else among your contacts uses their service. I wonder how many people realize that they’re giving full access to their e-mail account by doing this.

    We make people pass a written and driving test to get a license to drive a car. I really believe we should make people take similar tests to get a license to drive the Internet. It would make it a little bit safer for all of us…

    • nakedscience says:

      @Scott Brenner:

      I really believe we should make people take similar tests to get a license to drive the Internet.

      LOL, what?! Yay, let’s police EVERYONE and EVERYTHING they do! Totally makes sense!

      • Scott Brenner says:

        @nakedscience:

        There’s a HUGE difference between “policing” things (i.e. making sure people follow the rules) and making sure people have adequate knowledge before doing something potentially dangerous.

        My half-joking idea of an “internet driver’s license” is akin to a regular driver’s license: you have to prove a certain level of proficiency before you’re allowed to cause a 5,000 pound hunk of metal to go down the street at 50 MPH. Of course, once you get that license, you’re expected to follow the rules but no one is watching you 100% of the time.

        Seriously, though, I think we (the “internet community”) would have a much smaller spam / virus / spyware problem if the less tech-savvy among us had some educational process before going online.

    • shepd says:

      @Scott Brenner:

      More like an internet license would make the internet safer for idiots.

      The rest of us just ignore all this shite.

      You want to talk to me? RFC (2)821, baby! Live? Sorry, there’s no RFC for “talk”, but hey, that shouldn’t stop you!

      You want to talk to me AND friends at the SAME TIME? RFC (3)977! Real time, even? RFC 1459/2812.

      You just want to look at purty pictures of family? RFC 959, 1945, or 2616 will do.

      Of course, with most people being unable to properly use their computers and ISPs blocking ports and not giving out static IPs, this all becomes quite difficult. Seems everyone wants to use HTTP or bust nowadays. It always comes down to the lowest common denominator, doesn’t it? *sigh*

      Now get off my lawn!

    • Garbanzo says:

      @Scott Brenner: The difference is that’s is much easier to kill someone with a car than with an email account.

  14. Lukecadet says:

    It does work well as a gullible friend detector. I filled it out with some bogus information and they ask on 10 pages for your cell phone number for things like Love Detector 9.99/mo, or IQ Test 9.99/mo.

    If you pay 9.99/mo for an IQ test does that automatically knock off like 50 points???

  15. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    What does tagged.com claim to give you in return?

  16. Tamar Weinberg says:

    “The e-mails asking you to sign up for Tagged include a URL to block all future e-mails from the service.”

    …except that URL doesn’t work. I got several emails after I opted out.

    • tychay says:

      @Tamar Weinberg: I don’t think you got them from Tagged. Once you are in the opt-out, Tagged shouldn’t be sending you e-mail unless we have a bug.

      My thinking is that you accidentally tripped into one of the registration-based ad units that have cleverly disguised themselves to look like the Tagged website. You’re in someone else’s e-mail database, not ours.

      FYI, I work at Tagged as the engineering architect. I’m not customer support and I don’t work on the viral pipeline (where these complains are coming from).

  17. Amy Alkon000 says:

    Goodreads and Mamasource are other sites that do this. Beware!

  18. NikonGal says:

    How can the TOS apply in this situation when the email password is given at a point in time where you have not read the TOS? Seems like they ask for your email password to “to scan your address list to see who else among your contacts uses their service” – and then they proceed to do more than that.

    Just to clarify – I have not gone through the process so I’m not clear when the TOS are presented.

    And by the way – I read somewhere that if you actually click NO in the email, you’re taking to the same place as if you had clicked YES. Best advice – just delete it and don’t click anything.

  19. Nighthawke says:

    I let Yahoo and SpamCop deal with them. You know if Yahoo gets ticket off enough, they will domain-level block a spammer and it will be permanent, no appeal.

    SpamCop goes after spammy at the ISP level, if not higher up.

  20. Da5idM says:

    My wife fell for this scam. The email she got and the one that was subsequently sent to her friends was that photos were sent to the recipient via tagged.com. This was a complete fabrication. It seems to me that safe sites don’t lie to their users or prospective users.

  21. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    But you have to click!

    I can’t be the only person who found this laugh out loud hysterical.

    Oh really? I have to click?

  22. brandymb says:

    I just LOVE the blurb: “but you have to click!”. You don’t have to click sh*t. Everyone knows what the little “X” in the upper right hand corner of a window is for.. but then again..

  23. mzs says:

    I don’t get this. tagged.com works by you giving them your usernames and passwords. How are people today still not realizing that this is a bad idea?

  24. Vas Zevgolis says:

    I actually enjoy tagged very much… Its what i do to pass my time and it’s very very fun… :-))))

  25. Vas Zevgolis says:

    TAGGED RULES!!!

  26. nucwin83 says:

    Since when can you give permission to a company to send marketing emails to someone on your address book? “Oh, it’s not spamming, because technically it’s coming from Jimmy, who thought you might be interested (though he doesn’t realize he agreed to this…). And since you know Jimmy, it’s not spam.”

    Die in a fire spammers.