Monday, May 03, 2010

WVR/GW: Social networking site parent contributes to ad spam?

DearREADERS,
Social networking sites make money posting semi-related advertising on the site's side bar viewable by subscribers was they navigate pages on the site. This is a legitimate fund raising paradigm in my view. We see this all the time on Facebook, a site is universally accepted as extremely successful.

Social networking sites should NOT SEND advertising email to subscribers or permit the use of member email addresses for use by others.

WHAT'S GOT Ol' MYRT RILED UP?
Today, WorldVitalRecords, Inc. the corporate owner of the social networking site GenealogyWise.com, has crossed the line by sending email to me as a GenealogyWise.com (GW) subscriber, advertising a special membership rate on another site, WorldVitalRecords.com (WVR). Six items down on my email inbox is a duplicate email ad from WorldVitalRecords.com itself.

BACKGROUND
World Vital Records, Inc. used the Ning platform when creating Genealogywise. According to the Ning Terms of Service Dated 5 Jan 2009, posted as a link on GenealogyWise, Item 14 Acceptable Use and Conduct would seem to preclude WVR using email to distribute advertising of a non-GenealogyWise.com item. WorldVitalRecords (with genealogy indexes and scanned images) in my view is NOT the same product as the social networking site GenealogyWise.com.

Although Item 14, referenced above, states privacy settings could be set in one's profile, there is nothing in my GenealogyWise.com privacy setting today that provides an opportunity to accept or deny advertising emails.

From the Ning/GenealogyWise {Privacy Policy viewed 9:38am 3 May 2010, seemingly created by Ning, we read:

The Ning Terms of Service prohibit Network Creators and other Members from engaging in any activity involving the sending of email in violation of applicable law, including CAN-SPAM and other laws regulating unsolicited commercial email. Violations of these policies may result in immediate termination of service and legal action against any senders or initiators of such messages.

We offer email masking and relay when Members choose to communicate with other Members on Ning Networks to reduce third party email harvesting of email addresses for purposes of sending unsolicited commercial email ("spamming").


World Vital Records, Inc. is the Ning Network Creator of GenealogyWise.

Does World Vital Records really mean it when they say
"IF YOU ARE DISSATISFIED WITH ANY PORTION OF THIS AGREEMENT, DO NOT USE THE SERVICE." From World Vital Records website Terms of Service, dated 18 Feb 2009.

SUMMARY
Using the email addresses culled from a social networking site to distribute advertising of any sort is inappropriate in my view and clearly contributes to advertising spam overload on Internet servers.

That the parent corporation WorldVitalRecords, Inc. would use GenealogyWise.com members' profiles to distribute advertising for WorldVitalRecords.com is definitely not wise, in my opinion.

When we put our email addresses out there when joining a particular website, we trust they won't be "sold" to another website.

Sadly, such activity on the part of World Vital Records, Inc. does not engender confidence or trust.

Hopefully World Vital Records, Inc. will recognize it has overstepped it's bounds, will immediately cease email advertising practices using GenealogyWise.com member addresses and restore credibility among Internet genealogists.

ON THE PLUS SIDE
It's unfortunate this breach of confidence has occurred, since the WorldVitalRecord.com website has some unique content of great value to many family history researchers. GenealogyWise.com provides a marvelous environment for folks to meet in chat rooms, discuss brick walls and breakthroughs, and distribute information on a timely basis.

Ol' Myrt here would hate to see either site falter because of poor corporate policy concerning our email addresses.

Myrt :/
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

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