Today I "googled" a former business contact to get his new phone number. The search included a Reunion.com result that looked promising. To get the data, however, I had to sign up for a "free membership". (No problem...I wouldn't be using it anyway right?) Cleverly embedded in their sign up, however, was a log in option which (if you are not paying attention and I wasn't) gave them access to my email database. When I saw what I did, I hit cancel but the damage was done.
Then, how to reverse? I called the company in Santa Monica and understand why rating agencies grade them with an "F" for customer service. Unfortunately, I was also stuck with AOL tools to collect the same 2030 names to send an apology. But AOL won't send any such mail without first correcting every single address that is old, hyphenated incorrectly or enclosed in paranthesis. I patiently tried repeatedly correcting addresses for every failed attempt to send out a correction notice to my mail list. After about 1 hour I realized I might have just accomplished 1% of the task.
In the space of that hour, I was chagrined to be called by all too many...including my former fiance, a number of important business clients not to mention, of course, emails up the wazooo. Some were asking whether they should trust this invitation of mine to join reunion, others were clearly wondering what I was smoking.
My day went from bad to worse. I felt I was going straight off a cliff. And then I started getting reverse spam invitations from email addresses from my database who made the same mistake...Ohhhhhnnoooooo! and worse yet, I got a mail from a Reunion.com member who was happy to have me "join". (I was once a member of the Insight Seminars cult along with Arianna Stassinopolis Huffington located at 21st and Wilshire but that's another story and another reunion I never want to have!) Anyone know a good attorney in Santa Monica?
Complaints to the customer service at Reunion.com are blown off by individuals who are aggressively unappreciative the hardship that Reunion.com represents to those it violates. People inadvertently give the company more than they can be trusted with. An IT manager for a large concern in the Twin Cities had this to reply to my apology email:
"This is an evil system. It is attempting to post a mail list to the [his company domain] site."
What the reunion system is automated to do apparently includes posting mailing list to domains that haven't requested it. SPAMMING by definition.
It is invasive, it is destructive of trust, its methods are underhanded and deceptive.
I deleted my membership. Even that was not easy. Reunions often make you recall old songs, "you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave"...
I am compiling a file documenting all the blow-back from my original, and failed, attempt to find a business contact through reunion's "service". If the damages end up be proportional, I will be demanding Reunion.com to share the burden. I will be looking to link with those with like stories to tell and similar damage to repair.
st paul, Minnesota