I’ve been getting the following email to a few email addresses:
Alltern8 (www.alltern8.com) is gathering together a group of dedicated experts in MMO Games, LARP & Ren Faires, Tabletop and Collectible Card Games, Tabletop Wargames, PC & Console Games, Comics/Graphic Novels, Cosplay/Memorabilia, and Indie Music & Film to hire a brand new blogging and writing network! This is your chance to make your voice heard about the games you love to play and the events you love to attend.
… and so on in that manner. The subject is ‘Alltern8.com is hiring Writers & Bloggers’.
On the surface it seems like a legitimate email that I might have (inadvertently) signed up for. But I’ve never been to their site before, or heard of it. I have almost every single website sign-up email I’ve ever been sent – since 1999 – and I don’t have one from their site.
I look in the footer of the email where the unsubscribe options are, and I see this:
Alltern8.com only emails to addresses collected via it’s own site or one of it’s associated partner sites, we take SPAM seriously so please unsubscribe by replying with the subject UNSUBSCRIBE and you will no longer receive mails from us. This is the quickest way to stop getting mail via our site.
So maybe it was an associated partner site I signed up to. Possible.
But then – something happened! I got the exact same email to a QGL mailing list, which has long been targeted by actual real spammers.
Now the most likely scenario has changed. I think they’re spammers. I’ve replied to their email (for reference, always a foolish thing to do, because it can simply just highlight the fact that your email address is still active and ripe to be spammed).
It’s an interesting issue. If I was less anally retentive about emails I get and where they come from, I would have just accepted this as something I signed up for and moved on. So much spam I get these days just has a similar footer, a we’re-so-innocent routine that is rapidly becoming tiresome – “oh, you must have signed up for something with us at SOME point, how ELSE would we have gotten your email.
I’ll be making sure that we accurately track sign-up information so when users want to know why they got a newsletter, we can say “well, you can see right here that on the 15th of May 2009, you created an account and left the ‘subscribe to newsletter’ checkbox ticked!”
edit: Shortly after posting this, someone from alltern8.com replied – check the comments for their thoughts.