FounderDating Is SPAM! Stay Away!

Out of instinct, hunger, stupidity or a combination of these and other factors, a wild animal will get caught in a hunter’s (or trapper’s) trap. The hunter gets credit from admirers and scorn from detractors because without the skill that went into setting the right trap in the right place, at the right time, that animal would never have been caught.

I’m embarrassed to say that I got caught in FounderDating’s trap and, as a result, have repeatedly spammed my entire address book several times over the last few days.

People should not consider my emails (via FounderDating) telling them that I’ve “vouched” for them or asking them to “vouch” for me as an endorsement of the service in any way. My apologies to anyone still getting FounderDating emails in my name.

I’ve built internet services and advised others on best practices in building theirs. Inevitably we, and other marketers look to make our services “viral,” meaning that we want you to recommend it to your friends. The “network effect” works in our favor because your recommendation is an incredibly powerful endorsement. It’s also an incredibly cheap way for us to grow if we engineer our service right.

But reputable companies try to find a balance. We want to make it easy for you to share without betraying your trust. We want to help you get the message out without annoying your friends. And sometimes it’s hard for a company to walk the fine line. They might go a little too far. I repeat…a little too far. Because smart marketers know that in a best case scenario when you abuse your customers trust they’ll tell you about it or go away. But in a worst case scenario they’ll tell others how abusive you are and bad reviews spread even faster than the good ones. This can be fatal for a company.

FounderDating sent a reminder to all my contacts several days later so that all of those people who chose to ignore “my” first email would get a sense of “my” urgency. From the calls, IMs, texts and emails that I got, I can say that the second email was pretty effective. FounderDating crossed so far over the line that I feel compelled to spread the word to all my contacts about their abusive practices.

It was nice to hear from so many people I hadn’t spoken to in a while but that was little comfort next to knowing that I’d been tricked into letting them grow their service on the back of my mistake.

After they tricked me into spamming my entire address book I did a little searching. The first thing that I saw was that when I typed their name into Google’s search bar, Google suggested “FounderDating spam” as a search.

Searching for FounderDating…clearly spam

For those of you who don’t know, this means that it’s an incredibly popular search string. Clearly I’m not the only one annoyed by their practices.

Then I went to Facebook. They had very few comments on their posts, but the few they had looked like this.

People don’t seem to like them on Facebook either

I found this post from a Linked in user. Same experience. And this. And this. And this.

This is not a good company. They are firmly in the ranks of the worst of internet spammers.

Those people who got my email should not consider them as my endorsement of the service. If you signed up, cancel or they will take advantage of you too.

If you choose to stay on the service, I suggest that you go into your settings and look at how many different emails you’ve authorized them to send to you or risk being annoyed by them for a very long time. One of them authorizes any member to message you…by default. Wow.

I should have been paying better attention to what I was doing when I set it up. And I’m sure that if I confronted them directly they’d say that they were only doing what I asked them to do. After all, they’re just “helping me leverage the power of my network by connecting us in a newer and better way.”

They set the trap and caught me.

I apologize to to everyone that got the spam they sent for me. It was a mistake.

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