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How Opt-in-by Deceit Works

Neither Flowgo/Funstun, nor any of the other companies mentioned at this site send spam. Technically you have the choice NOT to opt-in to the mailing lists/newsletters/advertisements offered. Technically you give your permission. In reality, all of these companies engage in behavior that while legal is highly unethical. Here is how it works:

The most common variety occurs on the tell-a-friend (That's what TAF stands for) form. Here is a typical tell-a-friend form from a SuperTaf.com

SuperTaf is Evil!

And here is a similar form from the bottom of a Flowgo card.

Flowgo is also Evil!

As you can see, the squares for "newsletters," announcements, advertisements, and what have you often come checked off. If you don't uncheck them, you will "choose" to get mail from these third parties. Yes, you can uncheck the boxes and be very careful, but one wrong move and you will find yourself with unwanted email. If you want to see a nonworking mockup of a whole tell a friend form, click here.

Moreover, even if you are careful when you send the card, others may want to send on that cute card and what guarantee do you have that your recipients will be as careful as you. This problem only multiplies if you send cards with opt-in-by-deceit tell a friend forms to chat type mailing lists or large groups. You are threatening to spread a virus of accidental subscriptions to unwanted email far and wide.

A second and far more pernicious form of opt-in-by deceit occurs in some pick up letters for ecards. Right now (12/16/03) Flowgo is currently the only offender. Typically the first link in nearly all e-card pick up letters is the one most people use to pick-up the cards. The second link is for AOL. Most people (and even you) click on that first link. The folks at Flowgo know this. Here is a screen view of one of their pick up letters.

See you have a choice!

You will notice that the first link, the one I've highlighted in yellow leads not only to the card, but also subscribes you to a mailing list. Technically, you have chosen to get that email. The second link leads directly to the card without the subscription. It is there so that Flowgo can say that it offers you and your recipient a choice. Again, one wrong move, one sleepy moment and you will find yourself on a list for unwanted email.

And yes, all the behavior described on this page is perfectly legal. It is also highly unethical. You do not have to support it. Stop sending cards from Maibits (TAFmaster), SuperTaf, FunnTaf, and Flowgo.

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