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Teslaccessories.c*m does email scraping on this forum! WTF?!

Teslaccessories.c*m does email scraping on this forum! WTF?!

Teslaccessories.c*m (from CCI fame) has been scraping this Forum to collect email addresses to send SPAM to hapless Tesla owners.

How do I know that?
Well, remember the tests we did with Flagging posts a while ago. I created 6 Tesla accounts for that and those email addresses were ONLY every used on this forum. In fact, I specifically created the email addresses to do tests here. Last week (March 7th) I got six identical emails from teslaccessories.c*m, one sent to each of the email addresses.

The only possible conclusion is that TA uses the unhealthy practice of email address scraping from the Tesla Motors Forum to send people unsolicited spam emails.

I must say that I cannot condone this and I will certainly never order anything at teslaccessories.c*m.

(Maybe this was discussed before, but I was abroad the previous week so I may have missed it. If so, I apologize.)

shop | March 12, 2014

Do the Tesla Accessories emails provide an opt-out link? If so, I would count this as a minor transgression. Yeah, they shouldn't have done it, but as long as you have an easy to use opt out feature, it isn't that bad. At least they are sending out emails selling a TESLA related product to TESLA enthusiasts. Could be a whole heck of a lot worse...

rick | March 12, 2014

You miss the point.... What TA is doing is ILLEGAL. It is specifically outlawed in the CAN-SPAM act.

Captain_Zap | March 12, 2014

The need to click a link to "opt out" can be a security risk in itself, so I consider myself "opted out" by default.

rick | March 12, 2014

The law says, bulk email can only be sent to those you can demonstrate have done business with you in the past or have OPTED IN to receive such trash. I have done neither.

Captain_Zap | March 12, 2014

I believe the CCI people have the address teslaccessories.com without the double "a".

ccbldg | March 12, 2014

It's easy enough to change your username so your email doesn't appear on a public forum.

My Tesla > My Profile > Change Username field > Save

p.s. Please don't change your email field, only username!

chrisdl | March 12, 2014

Captain_Zap:
You're right. Thanks, I've correct the OP.

ccbldg:
That's excellent advice, but having your email address visible doesn't excuse the malpractice of TA. Frankly, I didn't expect a company who reputedly sells high-end Tesla accessories to abuse the trust of the one people they rely on do their business.

ccbldg | March 12, 2014

chris: I understand & I know they were basically fake email addresses, but it's better policy not to publish a personal email on a public forum. Too easy to write a bot to extract email addresses... you don't even have to be a member to access forums here, anybody can do it.

chrisdl | March 12, 2014

ccbldg:
If you're putting your email up for grabs, you're likely to get spam. Hopefully everybody knows that.

But we're talking about a "reputed" accessory maker here, not some viagra spam. I find that inexcusable. I hope you're not suggesting that what TA is doing is just fine.

ccbldg | March 12, 2014

No, I'm not suggesting what they're doing is acceptable! Just trying to help others, there are a lot of email addresses used as usernames here.

Maybe you should let this thread grow a little & then forward a link to TA.

AmpedRealtor | March 12, 2014

Scraping for email addresses is a sign of desperation. Perhaps they aren't doing well financially.

tezzla.SoCal | March 12, 2014

Big deal, you got an unwanted email. Lighten up Francis!

nickjhowe | March 12, 2014

This doesn't sound right. Roger and Matt are very up front guys. Let me get in touch with them and find out what's going on.

Brian H | March 12, 2014

chris;
They aren't a reputed accessory maker they're a real one. Reputable, too!

chrisdl | March 12, 2014

I have sent them an email asking to remove all scraped email addresses from their database.

Funny thing is that the emails I received say: "We're sending you this announcement as you've expressed interest in aftermarket products for Tesla Model S."

Nick:
Maybe they "bought" the email addresses from someone else. Either way, something is not right, I agree. They still shouldn't sent emails to people who haven't even been near their site.

Brian:
Thanks. That's what I meant.

shop | March 12, 2014

I agree with Tezzla - lighten up. The Teslaccerories guys are good guys. There aren't many people willing to make solid products for such a small market. They aren't a shady company. You CAN click on the opt out click and it won't take over your computer. Lumping them in with Viagra ads and click through trojans isn't very nice in itself.

chrisdl | March 12, 2014

Who lumped them in with Viagra ads?

The point is that exactly because they are such a reputable company, this should never have happened. Removing all the scraped email addresses from their database should be pretty easy for them. Even good guys make mistakes.

1LuckyGuy | March 12, 2014

It's not a sign of desperation Amped, it's a marketing strategy. And probably an effective one at that! What better place to find tesla consumers??? It's not like they're trying to sell you Diet pills lol

L8MDL | March 12, 2014

Seems to me you would only get one email if you didn't create false addresses. A victim of your own crime...

NKYTA | March 12, 2014

@L8MDL, he created the false addresses for a purpose - to help us understand how flagging worked in this forum.

Rocky_H | March 12, 2014

Wow, so many of you are missing the point. Many of you are telling him to lighten up because he got an unwanted email. You are looking the wrong direction! It's not about him getting it; it's about the sending of it. Scroll up to Rick's comment where he pointed out that it is ILLEGAL. That is the point, period. Saying that the people who run that site are nice guys doesn't jive well with this illegal activity. If they are purposefully doing it, then they're breaking the law and aren't such nice guys. If they are nice guys, but they don't know about it, and someone else in the company is doing it, then they would probably like to find out about it and get it stopped, so they are not liable for it and associated with this activity.

shop | March 12, 2014

It is also illegal to jaywalk. People do it all the time. All I am saying is keep some perspective. There is no great crime here.

notice | March 12, 2014

Scraping emails is not illegal under the can-spam act
http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guid...

It is a modern and accepted marketing practice as long as opt-out is honored and the content is not deceptive.

I personally hate to receive unsolicited email of any kind and get annoyed easily by companies who fill my inbox with unwanted spam. At the same time I can be called a hypocrite because my company (which I am the CEO) collects email addresses from public sources that we think are potentially good customers of our products and we send unsolicited emails to them. But we also honor an easy one-click opt-out mechanism and never ever bother those who opt-out again. Only about 10% opt out. Sure, many probably don't want our email and don't bother to opt out. But I would like to think that the majority of our targeted list finds what we have to say informative and helpful.

We, like tesla accessories, are in a small niche market and could not stay in business without this kind of lead generation.

So if you don't like it, just opt out. If your request is not honored, then you can get really angry (and the company may be subject to heavy fines if you complain to the FTC)

Captain_Zap | March 12, 2014

Illegal or not. It is distasteful.

I am still wondering if this was a spoof site because of the double "a" in the original post.

It has been quite a day. I got a call from Microsoft in India telling me that my PC was running slow so I should type hit my windows key and type in EVENTVWR. I had a hard time hearing they guy because there was so much noise in the boiler room.

Then I got a robo-call from my new medical insurance plan asking for to enter all my personal information for coordination of benefits. I called the insurance company and the person didn't even know who they worked for. Its look like another database got lifted.

Another day, another wasted dollar.

Captain_Zap | March 12, 2014

Excuse the mistakes in my post it has been a day.

NKYTA | March 12, 2014

I got a call today that my carpets need cleaning. How did they know?
Not.

notice | March 12, 2014

And I got a robocall today on my cell phone from a credit card company (for a card I don't happen to have) to tell me that my account was suspended and I should call to, no doubt, share with them my most personal information.

I think there's a big difference between illegal scams (by phone and email, which makes up the bulk of SPAM including computer trojans/viruses, identity theft scams, check fraud scams, like @ZAP's insurance robocall), untargeted bulk marketing (like robocalls, @NKYTA's carpet cleaner), and more targeted marketing (like a small family business trying to earn an honest living making aftermarket Tesla accessories and trying to reach out to Tesla enthusiasts who posted their email addresses on a public forum, or what my company does along the same lines).

Is it distasteful? To many, myself included, perhaps. That doesn't make it "wrong", though, if most people are okay with it, opt-outs are honored, and it proves to be an effective marketing tool for the business (meaning that not only did some people think it was okay, but they actually learned about a product offering that they didn't previously know about and decided to make a purchase that they could appreciate - they actually benefited from the solicitation as much as the company did that sent it. If done right, there are more win-wins than annoyed recipients.

I certainly don't want to "blame the victim" here, and perhaps most people who are "victims" of unsolicited emails are not as technically savvy, but there are steps that can be taken to minimize the problem if you, like I, are particularly private and easily annoyed by solicitations or, frankly, advertising in any form whatsoever (and my mom was right out of Mad Men as a female advertising copywriter and executive in the 1970s, maybe that's why I'm both sensitive to advertising and at the same time sympathetic to marketers). My wife and I don't even watch any TV anymore.

1. This forum, like many, should "obfuscate" email addresses of its users so they can't be scraped. I see that as a failing of Tesla in setting up the forum in a way that people providing an email address may not realize that it is being used as a public handle.

2. I set up a domain name (e.g xyz.com) for which all email to any address @xyz.com is routed to my spam folder. So, if I'm ordering something from Sears, I might have an address like sears@xyz.com for my dealings with Sears. Similar tactic to what @chrisdl did here that started the thread. But this way, I know where SPAM came from. In fact, I once ordered flowers as part of a fundraiser for our local National Public Radio station using an address specifically for the station. A year later, I started getting commercial solicitations from the florist they used to that address. I complained to the non-profit radio station that their email addresses were now being used by this for-profit flower company. Turned out that was the smoking gun they needed - the florist had breached their contract, the radio station went after them with lawyers, it stopped, and they are now using a new florist. So abuses do have consequences. But also, this technique "traps" the majority of my spam - since I rarely give out my "real" email address, I don't get as much spam to it (though it has caught up with me over the years as someone somewhere published my address on a publication and that's the end of privacy).

3. I set up a VoIP cloud-based office phone system for my home phone. When you call our home phone number, you get an auto attendant saying "For [my name goes here], press 1, if you are a telemarketer, please hang up now". Our phones don't actually ring unless someone presses 1. This has stopped robocalls 100% and nearly all telemarketers. (That, and I hope the "do not call registry" is doing its job).

Alas, my cell phone is starting to get unsolicited (scam) calls. Don't they know I might be driving my Tesla? That's going to be harder to stop. Most intrusive of all.

(Boy, that's an off-course ramble even for me, now back to threads relevant to Tesla!)

AmpedRealtor | March 12, 2014

@ jw40 - but I could use the diet pills LOL

portia | March 12, 2014

+1 @Rocky_H

Ohmman | March 12, 2014

I think this thread is worthwhile because you can fall into your own camp. Either you can say, here's a company that does something I find distasteful - I'm not going to buy from them. Or, you can say, here's a company that does something I find marginally off-putting, but they're reputable and I'll give them a pass. Certainly there are some other places you can fall.

Regardless, my feeling is that if it were my business, I wouldn't feel very good about any of those options.

Personally, I know where I stand.

jbunn | March 12, 2014

I won the Nigerian lottery, and was selected to receive benefits from two separate estate owners I've never met. I've also received 4 mails from Hotmail saying I need to verify my password.

Part of modern life, I suppose.

chrisdl | March 12, 2014

Okay, thank you for all the feedback, people.
It made me think of new perspectives about TA and the issue at hand.

Captain_Zap:
It was definitely from the real TA (with a single a). I just made a typo in my original post. Mea culpa.
I can paste one of the original emails here if that's more convincing :-)

Brian H | March 13, 2014

CapZap;
I betcha that call was from "Windows" not MS. Sometimes I get a call from them every day. They are receiving a great deal of profanity and crude personal descriptions because of that.

The scam, as I understand it, is to have you freak out about routine error events and get you to accept remote access, which allows them to implant malware.

chrisdl | March 13, 2014

Brian H: ... for which they then in turn charge you money to get rid off.

Brian H | March 13, 2014

Probably sell your computer to clone collectors.

dglauz | March 14, 2014

I looked at the TeslAccessories site yesterday and found zero accessories for tesla. They are 'generic' accessories that a high end car buyer might want for their car.

I am not likely to go to the site again.

PaceyWhitter | March 14, 2014

I wanted to state, categorically that sending email to harvested email addresses does violate CAN-SPAM. However, if Tesla authorized it it would not be illegal:

(b) UNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION —

(1) DIRECTIVE — Pursuant to its authority under section 994(p) of title 28, United States Code, and in accordance with this section, the United States Sentencing Commission shall review and, as appropriate, amend the sentencing guidelines and policy statements to provide appropriate penalties for violations of section 1037 of title 18, United States Code, as added by this section, and other offenses that may be facilitated by the sending of large quantities of unsolicited electronic mail.

(2) REQUIREMENTS — In carrying out this subsection, the Sentencing Commission shall consider providing sentencing enhancements for —

(A) those convicted under section 1037 of title 18, United States Code, who —

(i) obtained electronic mail addresses through improper means, including —

(I) harvesting electronic mail addresses of the users of a website, proprietary service, or other online public forum operated by another person, without the authorization of such person;

hamer | March 14, 2014

Actually, the death penalty would not be inappropriate.

chrisdl | March 14, 2014

Nick:
Did you get any response from the guys you know at TA?

I sent them a email 3 days ago, but I have not gotten a reply so far.

Roamer@AZ USA | March 15, 2014

I am shocked......you posted your email address on a public forum and someone harvested it and sent you advertising. Shocked. Absolutely shocked. Who would not do such a thing. Put it out there and people are going to mail to it.

chrisdl | March 15, 2014

Roamer:
Yeah, I expect to get a lot of spam that way, no worries. Strangely, I never got anything until the unsolicited emails from TA. I honestly didn't think that TA they'd fall that low. At the very least, it'd be good if they could explain the strategy involved and remove the scraped addresses from their database.

(Still waiting for that first email from you, though ;-)

chrisdl | March 15, 2014

(please remove the first from above post - O edit, where art thou?)

danej | March 15, 2014

I think it sucks, and I won't buy anything from spammers. My time and attention in my email inbox is valuable, and they are stealing this from me.

I'm never buying anything from these jokers.

-Dane

TheAustin | March 15, 2014

Wether you think this practice is illegal, immoral, totally shady, semi-shady, or acceptable business practice...I know I wouldn't my business to be associated with this kind of thing, or be the topic of debate about it...At this point, it's guilt by association...They have brought themselves close enough to called into question that, in my opinion, their brand has been damaged. You can let the lawyers work out the exact legality, but the damage has been done. Better to not put yourself in this situation in the first place. Better to potentially lose a few sales than to attempt to get them by shady, questionable, practices that most people would find intrusive and annoying. If you have such a great product, you don't have to Spam people...Your customers will seek you out.

If only I could think of a good example of a product that doesn't advertise/Spam people, yet the customers are so passionate that seek them out, even if their state doesn't allow for the purchase of said product directly...

notice | March 15, 2014

@hammer,@dane so why don't you add a handle to your tesla account so your email addresses are not posted on this public forum where they are sure to be scraped by annoying telemarketers and an army of web bots working for unscrupulous international hackers, spammers, and scammers? The automated web bots don't care what you think and don't ask permission, so don't give them your email address (probably too late).

Brian H | March 15, 2014

A Tesla accessories company, that sells only to Tesla owners, emails to owners who openly display their email addresses on the Tesla website. Gorsh. Duh. Darn. Gollikers. I'm flubbergasted.

Not.

billreeves | March 15, 2014

I want to point out that their "opt out" is bullshit. If you "opt out", you opt out of that mailing, but you will still the next one -- the "opt out" says "OK, you've been removed from the March 6 list" but you will still get the April mailing. I have opted out of each of their mailings and continued to get the next one. This is also in violation of the CAN-SPAM act.

I encourage Gmail and Google Apps recipients to mark these emails as spam. This will help to send their future mailings directly to the spam folder. If you use other public mail environments, marking those messages as spam will probably help.

For those of you who are saying "it's just spam, what's the big deal" -- you can feel free to receive as much spam as you want. I don't want to receive this spam. For those of you who are saying that these guys are reputable, their illegal marketing practices say more than anything you guys can say about them.

AmpedRealtor | March 15, 2014

Why are people here blaming the victim? Publishing your email address as your username is not the same as giving permission for others to use that email address. CAN-SPAM requires you to opt-in prior to receiving said mailing. It's not simply a matter of providing an opt-out link. If a complaint is filed, said perpetrator must provide logs and other proof to show that the customer actually ASKED to be sent the mailing in question.

Posting your email address is no more justification for being spammed than wearing sexually provocative clothing is for being raped. Extreme example, yes, but the same principle. Broadcasting something is not the same as giving permission to use that something for your own gain and without permission.

nickjhowe | March 15, 2014

@chrisdl - I did speak to Matt at Teslaccessories. I'm surprised he hasn't posted here - maybe doesn't want to risk a flame war. He told me they only use purchased lists, so if the email was sourced here it was done by someone else not them.

michael1800 | March 15, 2014

I agree with AmpedRealtor. Hopefully, since they are apparently nice guys and possibly fellow owners, they simply knock it off after this thread and we all move on.

As pointed out earlier though, others can see email addresses here if you choose to use it as your name (which is the default) and anyone will know you probably own or are interested in a high-end car. That's an excellent 'in' vector for dubious social engineers targeting folks...I personally strongly suggest changing the user name for that reason alone.

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