Tuesday, March 27, 2007

An Open Letter to CompuSystems, Inc.

To Whom it May Concern:

I attended Pittcon 2007 from Feb. 25-Mar. 3 in Chicago, a conference for which your company was contracted to compile contact data. According to your records, my badge was scanned at 23 vendor booths.

Initially I thought the badge scanning system was brilliant, but now I have a spam problem.

Maybe I neglected to read the privacy statement on the Pittcon website, or maybe the exhibitors are simply being unscrupulous. In any case, before Pittcon, my company's spam filter caught on average 5 unsolicted emails per month. After Pittcon, this number has jumped to as many as 10 per day.

When I say 'spam' and 'unsolicited email' I am not talking about services offered by vendors that did not scan my badge. In fact I seriously doubt any of these companies had booths at Pittcon, unless I missed the company whose domain names are achancetochange.org, holyspirit.com, mysteryshopper.net, and doubeclick.net. I know spammers will typically fake domain names to make their emails seem more legitimate, which may be the case in deanfoods.com, navy.mil, qwest.net, and k-state.edu.

I assure you, none of these unsolicited emails are legitimate contact attempts being mistaken for spam. One clue is the array of rediculous subject lines. I will detail a few below:
  • Fahrenheit sunburn
  • follicle liter
  • Far east potency
  • By the time I rolled into Havana the next evening…
The list gets more interesting from there, and today included something regarding Brad Pitt's anatomy and his penchant for home video.

I do not know what recourse to expect, but I will say that I never once believed that the professional and efficient job of data collection done at Pittcon would jeopardize my privacy. What is clear is that someone who got my email address at Pittcon has sold it to spammers, and this is a clear breach in trust between your company, Pittcon organizers, and conferees like myself.

Unless this situation is cleared up quicly, I will strongly recommend to anyone who attends a conference with data collection by Compusystems that they create a disposable email account for vendor contact.


et cetera

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