Leave Grouply alone!!!!1!!!eleventy-one!

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

So. As the owner of a few Yahoo groups, including one rather large Freecycle list, I’ve been getting Grouply spam for, um, quite some time now. (And yeah, I know Grouply is technically sending it on behalf of one or more of their users who “know” me, so it’s not “really” spam – but given that I “know” over 12,000 people inasmuch as they are all subscribed to groups I own and/or moderate, *cough* SPAM.) Tonight, after receiving my eight gagillionth Grouply invite, I decided to hop on over to their site and see if I can figure out how to make the emails stop.

Thankfully, I quickly discovered that I can opt my Yahoo groups out of the service altogether. Done and done – and owing in no small part to their obnoxious FAQ section.

To wit: Someone is spreading false anti-Grouply rumors in one of my groups. What should I do?

Yes, because legions of suicidal fanboys are in tears over the thought that someone, somewhere, might be talking smack about Grouply. The horra!

Grouply’s response is…well, it ought to earn them Stephen’s Alpha Dog of the Week award, I tell you wut.

Certainly everyone is entitled to their opinion about what constitutes a useful internet service. Unfortunately, sometimes the line is crossed, and several Grouply users have reported encountering anti-Grouply postings in their groups with false statements being presented as facts, not opinions. Examples include:

* “Grouply automatically spams everyone in the group…”
* “Grouply is a phisher and an identity thief…”
* “Grouply makes private group information public…”
* “Grouply is a scam…”

Spreading false rumors (see I heard that Grouply is a spammer… for more examples) puts the author and the entire group at risk. Yahoo’s Terms of Service (TOS) prohibits “mak[ing] available any Content that is … defamatory … [or] libelous…”. Yahoo has shut down user accounts or entire groups when the TOS is violated.

If you encounter any defamatory statements about Grouply, you might want to remind the group owner about Yahoo’s TOS and point them to http://blog.grouply.com/protect/ for “the facts” about Grouply.

In other words, Grouply encourages you to dispel negative myths about the service by….wait for it…issuing thinly veiled threats to your fellow list members – and even the group’s owners!

Because nothing says “credible” and “trustworthy” and “zomg, we’re not a scam, we swear!” like threatening to have Yahoo terminate well-meaning-but-confused-and-concerned web users’ accounts.

Well played, guys, well played.

(For a rundown on the pros and cons of Grouply, this post is quite informative. Again, coming from a business that encourages users to threaten others into compliance a la Scientology, “We’ll protect your Yahoo user name and password and all associated sensitive information, just trust us, we swear” isn’t all that reassuring.)