Gazzag.com is my new enemy

by Jennifer Golbeck

As part of my ongoing research into social networks, I sign up at pretty much every site I come across. Today, I came across Gazzag.com.

As part of the sign up process, they offered to import all my contacts from Orkut.com. I agreed, entered my login and password, and all the contacts popped over. Then, Gazzag then took it upon themselves to email all of my contacts saying that I invited them to join my network at Gazzag. As something of a social network expert, all my friends have been saying "Well if Jen invited me, there must be something really great here" and wandered into this evil trap of a social networking site. I did not invite them, I did not email them, and there is nothing special about this site. It basically hijacked my email address and spammed these people from me.

The Gazzag Terms and Conditions says nothing about them using my email address.

There is some small text under the box to import Orkut contacts that says " Type your Orkut username and password. Your friends will be invited to join you at Gazzag. Note: Gazzag will not store your password. " I did read this, but I naively took it to mean that my friends who were *already in Gazzag* would be invited to join me. What stupid kind of thing would email everyone I know? I certainly should have been smarter about this, but I am not the only one who has been sucked in here. A Google blog search for Gazzag finds lots of people angry about receiving all these spams and other people angry about finding they were sent.

This kind of practice is not just bad. It's evil. There are real implications to emails being sent from a user's address. In my case, messages went to my boss and colleagues who are in much higher positions than me. Those are people whom I think carefully about emailing, and I would never send them an invitation to a general social network. Messages also went to a couple of my exes. People do not actively remove connections in social networks, so a person's list of friends will often contain people who are not friends any more. It implies something to delete a friend, so most people avoid it by just doing nothing. When a site like Gazzag comes along and emails all those people, it carries a lot of social implications that users probably don't want to make. I think it's rare that anyone would want to email their full list of friends with an invitation like this, and Gazzag simply shouldn't do it.

So, for forcing me and several acquaintances to do a lot of damage control today, I officially declare Gazzag.com my enemy. Note that I have not even given them a link on this blog. Don't go there. Don't visit. Don't sign up. Tell everyone you know to avoid them. I'm an expert, and this time, I mean what you're reading.

78 Comments

M. David Peterson
2006-11-04 03:54:18
>> Don't go there. Don't visit. Don't sign up.


You got it.


Thanks for the warning/heads-up, Jennifer!

Daniel
2006-11-05 01:04:58
I described Gazzag's spammer attitude in its wikipedia article. At least, a few people will be warned. (I had a similar problem some times ago, and that made me really angry)
Toufeeq
2006-11-05 21:38:28
Thanks Jennifer for spreading awareness about the Gazzag plague. I'm glad somebody with a large audience is finally addressing this social-evil.


http://toufeeq.blogspot.com/2006/10/toufeeq-hussain-i-want-to-invite-you.html

Charudutt
2006-11-06 00:45:36
Yes, I agree with you totally.


I sent out an email to all my friends, warning them of this stunt from gazzag.com

shan
2006-11-06 00:55:52
Ritely said

2006-11-06 05:27:34
if i haveb already signed up what do i do/// how do i cancel it??
Jennifer Golbeck
2006-11-06 08:18:49
To remove your profile from Gazzag, follow this procedure:


1. Select the "Welcome" option in the main menu.
2. Select the "Account Settings" option in the submenu.
3. Select the "Remove Profile" option.
4. Follow the instructions.

Ambarish Roy
2006-11-06 08:20:54
I totally agree with you
Prashanth
2006-11-06 09:41:06
Yup... this kinda shit happened to me tooo
drewp
2006-11-06 16:52:15
yelp.com does this too, with gmail accounts. I don't know their exact wording, but savvy users are tricked just the same way.
Koushik Sen
2006-11-06 23:15:11
I have terminated my account at Gazzag and I have warned all of my friends at orkut to not join Gazzag.
muk
2006-11-06 23:54:14
i got too many mails from all my orkut contacts all asking me to join gazzag. signing up at gazzag asks too many questions. so i did join it, thankfully.
Rik
2006-11-07 00:53:19
"entered my login and password"


Don't do that. That's stupid.

aparna
2006-11-07 08:44:04
thank you for ur article..(saves every1 lots of time n energy!)
its a relief to finally find people who find this gazzag thing uncomfortable..
"import friends" in every step!!its a advanced level of spamming..
Pranay Manocha
2006-11-07 09:04:31
Well, another one is that emails sent out as invitations do not go from gazzag.com, rather they go from your google account.


The password for Orkut is the same as your Gmail account so gazzag now has access to your gmail.


So, for it to say that it is not storing passwords is either a lie, or they use mail sending tools that 'pretend' that it is from your gmail account.


Now isn't that worth suing. This is blatant fraud and unauthorised impersonification.

Navjot Singh
2006-11-07 10:28:54
Even i agree that gazzag.com has become a nuisance for me...with me receiving invites almost everyday...and there is no way for me to block the invites!
Anand
2006-11-07 10:35:42
The Gazaag should be kicked out and a lawsuit should be filed to block them and anyone having such evil practices of promoting their sit.e
Nithin
2006-11-07 15:06:13
Well said...
Suresh
2006-11-07 22:11:33
Thats..a really good one..! i like your open minded..attitude..!
Thanks
Srinivasa Ramanujam
2006-11-07 22:51:36
Well, it happened with me also. As soon as I entered my orkut userid/password, it said it has sent mail to every of my friends! It didn't give me an option to select to whom I wish to send. I really pity the gazzag team, i guess they want everyone to join them to show growing number of users.
Akash
2006-11-08 00:48:43
Thanx a lot actually i too got suffered from Gazzag and I am completely fed up of getting the invitations. I too have signed into that by one of my friend's invitation and now I am going to delete my account.
Sandeep S
2006-11-08 01:36:10
Thnks a lot.....All should be aware of this.
Sikandar
2006-11-08 02:17:49
Hey thanks for the warning..
I actually signed up for Gazzag since i got mail from many of my friends. but i dint give any email id or password, thinking something fishy is there in it... And eventually it turned out so.. Thank God that i dint do it...
Sikandar Udupi
2006-11-08 02:19:03
Hey thanks for the warning..
I actually signed up for Gazzag since i got mail from many of my friends. but i dint give any email id or password, thinking something fishy is there in it... And eventually it turned out so.. Thank God that i dint do it...
Kunal
2006-11-08 06:40:46
Guess it also sends reminders for signin to orkut buddies without initiated by the user.
Beware!!
shalini
2006-11-08 09:53:33
well ridiculously enough, gazzag not only sends invites to all your address book contacts, it also sends them reminders. and i am flooded everyday with join gazzag messages. irksome!! unwanted rubbish, i say!

2006-11-08 11:41:23
Now you tell me... :O its so bad its funny...now I am thinking of who all the mails would have gone...
saptarshi
2006-11-08 20:59:41
i agree totally... its definitely fooled me as well... and more rile on gazzag - they have done nothing more than blindly copy orkut in the way stuff is organised
Gopal
2006-11-09 22:49:19
Thanks. I have been very irritated with my "friends" for the SPAM I have been getting. Now I know it wasn't their fault. Thanks for informing.
tapaswini
2006-11-10 04:45:57
same thing happened 2 me
Narasimhan
2006-11-10 10:50:50
Hey.. nice write-up.. i have been receiving quite a number of invites from gazzag to join their network.. a lot of them from a few people that i know who i'd rather not interact with. initially i had signed up for gazzag thinking that it might be the next orkut or something like that. i too like to keep up on the curve on these things. but today i realized what a meanace these kind of sites are and i terminated my account.

2006-11-10 23:57:03
thanks for your information

2006-11-11 06:56:06
i completely agree...Gazzag sucks !!!
Joydeep
2006-11-11 11:30:40
Yep, im one of the victims of gazzag spams too.
Shibili
2006-11-12 22:22:04
Even I am receiving a lot of invitations everyday.. I think we need to configure our spam filters and inform our peers about this evil.. I will be posting about it on my website soon...

2006-11-12 22:27:26
Thanks, that clears quite a few things
Bruno
2006-11-13 01:53:53
Well...
People who got invited by me included adsense-support@google.com, gmail-support@google.com

2006-11-13 10:11:09
absolute bollocks...
Javed
2006-11-13 11:10:55
Totally agree with you. I am being spammed by clueless people asking me to join Gazzag.
kunal
2006-11-13 12:18:26
hey Jen,

i wanted you to check another social networking site www.meetafan.com

I would love to have your comments about the site

pls leave your comments on the site using the locker feature


Harish
2006-11-13 20:46:51
Hi,
I never knew abt this until i read ur blog...thanks for ur info!! Will avoid using the network!!
Binesh
2006-11-13 22:03:36
I do agree. It's really annoying.
Ramkumar
2006-11-13 22:59:30
As part of my ongoing research into social networks, I sign up at pretty much every site I come across. Today, I came across Gazzag.com.


As part of the sign up process, they offered to import all my contacts from Orkut.com. I agreed, entered my login and password, and all the contacts popped over. Then, Gazzag then took it upon themselves to email all of my contacts saying that I invited them to join my network at Gazzag. As something of a social network expert, all my friends have been saying "Well if Jen invited me, there must be something really great here" and wandered into this evil trap of a social networking site. I did not invite them, I did not email them, and there is nothing special about this site. It basically hijacked my email address and spammed these people from me.


The Gazzag Terms and Conditions says nothing about them using my email address.


There is some small text under the box to import Orkut contacts that says " Type your Orkut username and password. Your friends will be invited to join you at Gazzag. Note: Gazzag will not store your password. " I did read this, but I naively took it to mean that my friends who were *already in Gazzag* would be invited to join me. What stupid kind of thing would email everyone I know? I certainly should have been smarter about this, but I am not the only one who has been sucked in here. A Google blog search for Gazzag finds lots of people angry about receiving all these spams and other people angry about finding they were sent.


This kind of practice is not just bad. It's evil. There are real implications to emails being sent from a user's address. In my case, messages went to my boss and colleagues who are in much higher positions than me. Those are people whom I think carefully about emailing, and I would never send them an invitation to a general social network. Messages also went to a couple of my exes. People do not actively remove connections in social networks, so a person's list of friends will often contain people who are not friends any more. It implies something to delete a friend, so most people avoid it by just doing nothing. When a site like Gazzag comes along and emails all those people, it carries a lot of social implications that users probably don't want to make. I think it's rare that anyone would want to email their full list of friends with an invitation like this, and Gazzag simply shouldn't do it.


So, for forcing me and several acquaintances to do a lot of damage control today, I officially declare Gazzag.com my enemy. Note that I have not even given them a link on this blog. Don't go there. Don't visit. Don't sign up. Tell everyone you know to avoid them. I'm an expert, and this time, I mean what you're reading.

Easwaran
2006-11-14 00:55:39
Yes. Absolutely. I just managed to escape from this because I had my own reservations in giving my Orkut login ID and Password to a website, which is not part of Google, so that it can login there and collect my friends' email addresses. But I could not help but receive and then delete nearly a hundred emails from gazzag on behalf of my orkut friends who did not bother to think twice. So, PLEASE, NEVER EVER enter your user id and password on websites other than where they were created.


And, I had signed up for gazzag, just to check if there is something so interesting that all of my orkut friends have signed up. No, nothing. Just crap. Orkut is fine for me. I simply deleted my gazzag profile. Thank GOD, they had provided that option.

Chatur
2006-11-14 13:01:11
Hi,
I absolutely agree with what Ms. Golbeck is saying regarding Gazzag & others like it. I'm an active member in ORKUT & got several invites to Gazzag. I even signed up, but when I found out the method in which Gazzag invites "my friends", I deleted my profile there. Luckily I did not input my ORKUT userid & password there, otherwise even I would have had people cursing me. It's a STUPID way of going about doing business. JUST STOP!
----
Regards
Chatur Prabhu

2006-11-15 02:53:15
I didn't even sign up yet I keep getting these really annoying invites from EVERY friend of mine who signs up at Gazzag. This site is a real pain the b*tt and should be shut down.
Siddarth
2006-11-15 03:41:06
I totally agree. I too was tricked into inviting all users into Gazzag. Its an absolute nuisance...
Aditya Sanyal
2006-11-15 04:22:35
Just another lesson in publicity... Good or bad. Now everybody knows about Gazzag.


By the way, hope the Gazzag Guys read this post of yours and rectify things, either the small print, or the act of only inviting existing Gazzag members to be your friends.


I haven't taken a membership at Gazzag, though. Orkut and LinkedIn will do just fine.

abhishek
2006-11-15 09:15:51
thanks a lot dear! keep up the gud work :)
Rohit
2006-11-15 11:30:54
I just added a filer in my gmail account. If body contains "gazzag", send to trash.


Helps a lot!