Eric from MyBlogLog dropped by and left a comment, which I would like to respond to here.
Thanks for dropping by, Eric. I’d like to show you the bigger picture. You seem to be seeing one tree in the forest. There’s a lot of trees to be seen, and here are some things you might want to consider.
You think that a 419 scammer can’t set up a blog and make it interesting enough that people will join their communities? These guys are not stupid. They create fake banking websites constantly and some of them are good enough that the *banks* wonder how they’re doing it. They would probably steal content from lesser known bloggers, but how would any of us ever know that they were scammers until they sent us the scam email?
Plenty of people would not even know they were scammers once they GOT the scam email. The situation with education on this topic is not good. New people join the internet every day, many of them elderly people with life savings in the bank.
You think the scammers speak a different language and it would give them away? Incorrect. When you receive a scam letter with terrible spelling and grammar – that is actually TACTICS on their part, because they want the great white hope to think they are less educated and easy to manipulate. They can write just as well as you or I.
You forget that SCAMMING PEOPLE IS THEIR FULL TIME JOB. They get up in the morning and go to the internet cafe. Email isn’t working too well for them these days, and they are always looking for new ways of contacting the “maga” – their word for scam victim. They’re already using social networks. Tagged is their current favourite, it seems, but they are always looking for the next big thing. They work in large gangs, and they have “lower down” scammers doing all the grunt work. Those guys are constantly thinking up new ways to scam people in order to get higher up the chain.
If someone joins your community, most people join theirs in return. I’ve done it myself. I’m sure others have too. That’s the way these social networking things work. So if a scammer signs up and goes around joining communities, its likely they would get a lot of members fairly quickly, who they can then spam.
If you don’t think it is possible, you’re wrong. These guys will use any chance they can. Ask Ebay and Paypal. The next thing you know they’ll be sending out phishing emails to get blogger logins – yes, that is one way they will be able to spam people, by stealing the accounts of established bloggers. They’ll target the bloggers signed up to a lot of communities. Have you organised an education drive on a phishing scam, ever? People fall for it so easily, and they will fall for it just as easily on this occasion. You ready to deal with the fall out of bloggers having their passwords stolen?
Ebay can’t manage to get the message through to people. Paypal can’t manage to get the message through to people. Banks and ISP’s can’t manage to get the message through to people. We scambaiters can’t get the message through to people and trust me, we’re not resting on our laurels. The Anti Phishing Working Group can’t get that message through to people and look at all the influential members they have to help them out. Thousands of online email, banking, Ebay, paypal and ISP accounts are compromised daily. Do you think you’ll be an exception and able to get the message through to all 180,000 members of MyBlogLog?
Even Yahoo has problems with this – the scammers send out emails which look like this - You probably look at it and think – who would fall for that? People fall for these phishing tricks all the time. I’m not kidding. If MyBlogLog people got a message that said – we’re spring cleaning, please log in to show us you wish to remain a member – and it linked to a fake site the scammers set up which looked exactly like MyBlogLog and it asked people to log in..
These guys got game. Some of them have teamed up with the Vlads – scammers from Romania and Russia, in order to do these phishing scams and fake sites. You want to take them all on and make yourself and every member of MyBlogLog a target? Ask Ebay how well that worked out for them. They never took this problem seriously and now it is such a huge problem for them, it’s given them a very bad name, and frankly they will never overcome it. New auction sites setting up know about this problem and take steps to avoid it.
Having a private messaging system is bad enough – the scammers will turn up at some point. I have already received 419 scams via Bumpzee private messaging. But you give them a mechanism to get their 419 messages out en masse to a large group of people, and all they have to do is join a bunch of communities? Sold! That’s a lot easier than messaging people one on one. But if you offer them messaging one on one, they’ll take that. I would recommend you get rid of the private messages as well, in order to keep them off MyBlogLog.
Now you can say ok, we’ll ban all Nigerian IP addresses. That won’t work, the scammers are all over the world – the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, even here in Australia. Canada has a huge group of check scammers working there, sending out fake checks, take a look at some of their work (checks they sent to me) here. There are large scammer contingents in Houston, Atlanta, Amsterdam, London, Abu Dhabi, Romania, Johannesburg and Delhi. This is a global problem without anyone working on a global solution.
There is so much more to this issue than the one tree in the forest that you are seeing. That’s why people are so angry and upset about it – they LIVE with the spam and scams, and they do not want you to offer another mechanism for them to receive that. It won’t go away by your saying “We’re keeping this system, thanks for your feedback” – no, what will happen then is you will lose a lot of your members. Maybe that’s not important to you now you’ve sold out to Yahoo.
You’ve grabbed a tiger by the tail here. How about letting it go and listening to your members? If you don’t believe me or the other outspoken ones, put in a poll and see for yourself – I personally feel the majority of people on MyBlogLog do not want this community messaging system. Many of them will just quietly leave, or stop using MyBlogLog.
Other people who have written about this topic –
MyBlogLog Community Mass Message SPAM Controversy – Alex (new)
Mybloglog messaging system and why I think it sucks – Yack Yack
MyBlogLog Mass Messaging – Swallow Spam or Die – Avinash
MyBlogLog New Features – The Abusive and the Incomplete – Andy Beard
Think Twice Before You Launch A New Service – MyBlogLog – Jon
Community Messages on MyBlogLog – Meg