Activision Accidentally Introduces 860 Customers To Each Other

Consumerist reader chrismar was one of the Guitar Hero customers who requested a Wii replacement disc from Activision last month. On January 18th, the company sent out an email to its customers with an update on the disc replacement program. The problem is, they copied 859 other customers on the email. “As a result, my email address is in 859 unknown hands, and I have 859 email addresses I don’t want.”

The only way to really protect yourself from the dumbness of strangers is to never give them your personal email address—either create a “public” address that you use for all business correspondence, or create one-use accounts (e.g., “”), that you forward to your real email account.

On the bright side, Chris, it’s unlikely that your new 859 friends are telemarketers or spammers, or that all of them will even notice the massive CC list. Which gives us an idea: quick, sell those other addresses before someone else does and the list loses value!

(Thanks to chrismar)

“Activision Acknowledges Guitar Hero III Wii Sound Issue, Will Offer Replacement Discs”
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rando says:

    wow, Q_Q more… It’s just an email address.

  2. Ariah says:

    By the way, is fantastic. It features free, disposable email addresses, made quickly and discarded automatically.

  3. darkened says:

    @randotheking: I agree, people need to stop whining about this. In the rare event that this CC mishap occurs. It doesn’t matter. Your email has already been bought and sold by spammers 100 times over.

    Your email address is no more private than the number on your house.

  4. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    So…what is the worst that can happen? One of those 859 people sends the info to a site that will spam you? That is why you have a spam filter (or, I hope you do).

  5. headon says:

    wimpy wimpy wimpy, just delete the email and get on with life. ooffa, grow a pair!

  6. photomikey says:

    Holy moly, how’s he going to get rid of those 859 e-mail addresses? That could take days!

    (Or… “delete”. They’re gone!)

    Your ISP and everyone else who has your e-mail address is selling it for cash. So Activision accidentally gave it to 859 individual consumers. At least they didn’t charge for it.

  7. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    I belonged to a social group a few years ago. Well, there was a female who was a member and her assistant sent the whole group an email about getting a free Honda from Bill Gates or one of those stupid hoax emails.

    The original email wasn’t too bad. The worse part was when the hundreds of people on the email list started replying to all they wanted to get off the mailing list.

  8. nursetim says:

    This is why I guard my regular e-mail address and always give out my Yahoo e-mail for things like that. I very rarely get spam on the one, and the other I refer to as my spam e-mail, since that’s what 90% of the inbox is at any given moment.

  9. NotATool says:

    @public enemy #1: Just what I was thinking…let the reply to all storm begin…

  10. shertzerj says:

    I signed up with the replacement disc program, and I got an email (along with a huge list of other people) from some guy saying that he assumed I played Guitar Hero, and gave his Friend Code and such. No harmful intent or anything, but I’ve received a couple of these so far. Just mildly annoying.

  11. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @nursetim: Same here. I create a new yahoo account every couple years to use for website signups, cc orders, ect. Takes me about an hour to update the address on the sites I need to, but it means my regular email gets 5-6 spam messages a week at most (and those are 1800flowers and papa johns coupons)

  12. econobiker says:

    @NotATool: I had a quite funny one too-
    An obnoxious vendor I had contacted only once for a quote apparently sold or had to shut down his business (follow along and you’ll see) . He sends a blanket email to me and hunderds of other contacts informing us of his new contact info, company, etc. He uses CC: line. I email him back “please don’t use CC: etc”.

    Then I get another email as a reply to all from another of the addresses. This person then informs everyone that said vendor left his customers on the hook, burned him for $20k in goods/services, and makes several sarcastic comments about the situation and why not to CC: anyone if he didn’t want the truth to be known. I got some chuckles from forwarding that email…

  13. DrGirlfriend says:

    Oh man, the reply to all storm. Years ago a Usenet (told you it was years ago) group admin accidentally sent out an email to everyone in the group. It was a lot of people. 99.9% of them replied to all absolutely OUTRAGED to have been emailed, and demanding they be taken off the mailing list. Of course, with everyone doing this, people were getting more and more outraged at all these STRANGERS emailing them.

    As I still had some faith in humanity’s collective IQ left at the time, I sent out an email saying something like, “I am just writing to say that if you all simply delete the accidentally-sent email, all of this madness will stop and you will get no more unwanted messages. This will be the last you hear of me. Ok thanks bye.”

    I got so much hate mail. “How dare you email me? I don’t know who you are! Get the &^$* off my email!”


  14. Sherryness says:

    Did this person really take the time to sit and count up the e-mail addresses? Was it truly 860? I wish I had that kind of time. Heck, I wish I could count to 860.

  15. Buran says:

    @shertzerj: Pretty sad that these days we’re so afraid of strangers that we’re annoyed if a random person tries to reach out with an olive branch in hand and tries to make a friend.

  16. Mr. Gunn says:

    How long have we had email? People STILL don’t understand? “Reply to All” should be a hidden option.

    Mailinator and Spamgourmet FTW!

  17. sly100100 says:

    Is it just me or is having a separate email account for “spam” a waste of time? You still have to check it to make sure you didn’t get an email from some place you gave it to, and having it forwarded is just as silly since it all shows up in your inbox at your other address.
    the only spam I hate getting is the wasted space taken up in my snail mail box with tons of unwanted garbage from advertisers to politicians sending stuff, not to mention all those poor trees, and then shredding stuff, and then hauling it to the transfer station, now thats a pain.

  18. harshmellow says:

    I’m sure this instance was a mistake on the part of Activision, but I am constantly telling people I know to quit using CC! Use BCC! Most of them didn’t even know what BCC meant until I told them. Some of them STILL don’t use it. I hate seeing a ton of email addresses in emails unless it is work-related or my relatives…

  19. jeff303 says:
  20. jeff303 says:

    @Sherryness: Umm it’s not that hard to tell there are 860 addresses in a message if you know some basic commands/regex and are using something other than Outlook…

  21. suburbancowboy says:

    O Noes! Someone knows my email address!!! SUE SUE SUE!

    I smell ridiculous class action lawsuit.

    I was at a bar and someone told someone else what my name was. O NOES!!!! Now they know my name, and can steal my identity! And they will fill me with body thetans!!! Noooo!

  22. TheUncleBob says:

    If you want to read the best reply all story, check out the BEDLAM DL3 history of Microsoft. []

    Anywhoo, I’m surprised this e-mail list hasn’t been used to gather people in some kind of class action lawsuit against Activision for selling the faulty product in the first place.

  23. shertzerj says:

    @Buran: True… I guess we’ve become so jaded that we assume that an unsolicited email has to be spam with a bad intent (or at least, I do) :)
    Based on all the spam that GMail catches for me, I’m sure more than 860 people already have my email address, anyway.

  24. trujunglist says:

    Many, many more than just 859, kiddo.

  25. krom says:

    As annoying and spammy as those screwups can be, they can be fun, too. I was on the Fleet Online Banking Pilot mailing list, which had been misconfigured so that all responses went back to the list. Even though I got hundreds of emails a day as a result, it was actually kind of a fun community while it lasted. And at the end of it we all got $25.

  26. Buran says:

    @shertzerj: I had 5600 spam messages in the spam folder of my gmail hosted account the last time I looked. It’s insane. Fortunately, that combined with the spam filter in Apple Mail means I see almost none of it unless I go looking.

  27. Framling says:

    I’ve had my current email address since 1996. Since that was more or less before spam as we know it, I was never too concerned with keeping it hidden from spiders and the like. So now I get something on the order of four hundred junk messages a day. I’d get a new one, but it’s [My first name]@[My last name].com, and it’s hard to top that. So who can recommend some good industrial-strength spam filtering and give me my email back?

  28. Dennis says:

    Although there are many disposable email services I have been using for many years and am VERY happy with them. Emails are forwarded to your real email address and you can keep them as long as you want or delete them whenever you want.

  29. MYarms says:

    All 859 of you should get together and have a big guitar hero orgy fest.

  30. kostia says:

    McSweeney’s did this to me once. It was a pain in the ass; so many people insisted on doing a reply-all to say how annoying it was that the sender had used cc instead of bcc. A couple people used the list to advertise, but most used it to complain, and it was impossible to get off it until the novelty wore off.

  31. Thorny says:

    Let me guess, this person’s home address — where someone could come and physically break in and steal things and/or possibly hurt them in the process — is known to anyone with a phone book in their local area, not to mention the billions of us who use the internet. Sounds like privacy to me!

  32. strathmeyer says:

    @darkened: “Your email has already been bought and sold by spammers 100 times over.

    Your email address is no more private than the number on your house. “

    So just because your e mail address is public everyone else’s should be, too? Please.