Thursday, August 14, 2008
So, I was surprised to receive an invitation from Weiden digistud Renny Gleeson to join Yaari, a social network focused on Indian (subcontinent) teens. It smelled a little fishy so I ignored it. And now I've found this post on Renny's blog discussing his saga of trying to combat Yaari's terrible business practices. Excerpts below:
Remember when I said "Yaari.com Sucks"? Well, they continue to suck. But don't worry - it's apparently my fault they suck, not theirs.
Last week, I screwed up and I signed up for a social site called Yaari.com.
In the signup process, I was asked to import my contacts. It's not optional. Then I was asked to check the boxes for those I wanted to receive an invite to join me on Yaari. What I didn't realize until I started getting a wave of emails from friends I'd not heard from in some time was that they ignored the one box I checked and sent invites to EVERYONE IN MY ADDRESS BOOK.
Then some of those folks, when they got an invite from me, in turn registered. And guess what? THEIR ADDRESS BOOKS GOT SPAMMED, TO.
So I wrote to Yaari:
"..I sent a single invitation to a friend to join Yaari, but instead, apparently Yaari has sent an email to all the people on my email list. Please RETRACT THE INVITATIONS IMMEDIATELY WITH AN APOLOGY, and notify me when this has been completed. Thank you."
This is what I got back from Yaari.com's Prerna Gupta (my bolds):
"I appreciate you contacting us regarding this matter. However, please note that we have not emailed your contacts without your approval. By registering for Yaari and agreeing to the Terms of Service, you authorized Yaari to send an email notification to all the contacts listed in the address book of the email address you provided during registration. This is clearly stated in our Terms of Service and on the Registration Page...Based on feedback we are receiving from users like you, we are making changes to our invitation procedure to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. If you send me a comma-separated values list of email addresses that were affected by this, I would be happy to send an apology email."
This is not a customer service error. It is a CEO error. Prerna Gupta is the CEO of Yaari. I wonder if Prerna knows that Renny is the digital czar of Weiden, and an influencer of thousands.
Crap like this is just an attempt to artificially boost member numbers for some financial reason.
Here's an idea, instead of asking for a comma separated list, you could go into your system and do as Renny asked, so that you can make amends for this plainly wrong business practice.
Renny contacted the Georgia BBB. Bravo.
Thanks for reading, and don't forget to write.
POST SCRIPT: CHECK OUT THE BOTTOM OF THE REG FORM. "If you do not want Yaari to send an email notification to your email contacts, do not register for Yaari."
Hmm. "...do not register with Yaari." Sound advice.