Monday, July 23, 2012

Social123: When your social life becomes the target of creepy tactics

Unethical practices

In my book, scavenging the web to build up detailed profiles through social media and other sources is something I feel is freaky and unethical.
...Social123 provides demographic and social data on any company’s Twitter followers including their e-mail address... We also append existing contact databases with publicly available information from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn...

Fair practice

Don't get me wrong - I believe in engaging your audience through social media and enriching customer profiles through the information you have legitimately collected - with consent. Is what social123 doing legal? If you use their service will you put yourself into at legal risk? For example, in Canada, read "Fair information principles" from the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Among the ten points, see those:
  • define the purposes of its collection
  • obtain consent
  • limit its collection, use and disclosure
Do you feel what social123 is doing abides by PIPEDA principles?

The WAA Code of Ethics

As an analyst, I strive to follow strong ethics and I embrace the WAA Code of Ethics. I feel it is our collective responsibility to call out those who we believe are not helping our industry. Heck! If this company is so good about social media they will certainly get an alert within minutes of my posting... let's see what happen!

So, tell me... am I freaking? Am I the only one who think the practice of "data appending service" is unethical and potentially illegal?

For the record

The first time I got their spam I didn't disclose the company name and simply replied. I shared my concern on twitter and G+... I played fair.


But the same Jo Turner (no LinkedIn profile...) spammed me again with the same type of message. I had clearly indicated in my first reply that I was uncomfortable with their service - to which I never got any feedback.

Mistakes:
  • #1 - Spamming
  • #2 - Not replying to my comment
  • #3 - Spamming again...
  • #4 - This whole concept of building up profiles!
So here it is for you pleasure - and I will continue to update as it unfolds:

From: Bo Turner [mailto:bo.turner@social123.com] 
Sent: June-05-12 17:33
To: stephane
Subject: Monetizing Social Media for Marketing Automation

Stephane,
My company, Social123, provides demographic and social data on any company’s Twitter followers including their e-mail address. I found your information using our techniques and thought you may be interested in learning more. This information can be obtained for your company, industry, association, or even your competition.
 
We also append existing contact databases with publicly available information from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – and score them based off of their content mentions so you can reach out to the people who matter most.
Please let me know if you have a couple of minutes to discuss.
 
Bo Turner
Senior Sales Executive
www.Social123.com
(864) 494-7488

From: Stephane Hamel
Sent: June-05-12 17:38
To: 'Bo Turner'
Subject: RE: Monetizing Social Media for Marketing Automation

Hey you – if you want to be serious with social media, start by abiding by stronger ethical rules about spamming and check the profile of those you are talking to…

BIG MISTAKE!

From: Bo Turner
Sent: June-23-12 11:15
To: stephanehamel
Subject: Social Followers Plus
Hello Stephane,

I hope this week is off to a grea start! I know you weren’t expecting my email but I thought our new SocialFollowers+ would be of interest. My company, Social123, provides a completely automated system that will find demographic and social data for your social followers. We can append this data with SocialPoints+ – our customized scoring platform - which helps you rank your most influential contacts. We can also append an email address for many of the contacts. 

I found your information using our techniques and thought you may be interested in learning more. If there is a specific contact list, twitter handle or crm list you would like to append with social data, social points and emails, we would love to help.

You can sign up for free and see 150 results here http://www.social123.com/register. I am here to answer any questions and would love the opportunity to connect.
Best-

Bo Turner
Director of Strategic Accounts
Bo.Turner@social123.com
Social123 – Monetize Social Media
C: (864) 494-7488
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