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  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Jan 3rd, 2006
  • Category: Admin
  • Comments: 26

Goowy spam faux pas

TAGS: None

This morning I found an email from Dennis Howlett whom I finally got to meet at Les Blogs 2.0 last month, recommending something called goowy as a new email client. The invitation was to set up an account and then let him know what I think. I like Dennis and know he gets involved in interesting ventures, and the way the invite was worded I thought he was somehow involved in this project. Also, as it was an early morning email-check (having gone to be at 3am the night before), I wasn’t thinking about matters too much and proceeded with setting up the email to test it.

First of all, it’s built in Flash, which is pretty but a bit of an overkill to say the least. But perhaps mainstream users like a graphically designed interface, so be it. Not everybody has to be a fan of gmail style simplicity. I moved on.

Secondly, when you sign up, you get to import all your contacts from your main email client. I use gmail and the import was smooth and effortless. Too effortless in fact, as I was clicking through the steps, there was a line at the bottom of the (visible) screen with a box checked, which only flashed before my eyes, as I was clicking ‘continue’. It said ’send invitation to goowy to your contacts’ or words to that effect. With horror I watched as responses (mostly out of office replies) started piling in into my new shiny inbox. You may say that I should have been more careful about proceeding to the next stage in the set up but you’d be wrong. I was setting up a simple email client, which is something I do all the time, when testing various new applications coming out of the blogosphere.

This is the real killer and the message is – You. Do. NOT. Check. Anything. Intrusive. By. Default. For. The. User!!! I am now incredibly pissed off at goowy for effectively spamming all my contacts. I did send an unhappy email to and I know I’ll be watching the fallout from this with growing unease. David appeared on my IM asking about goowy already as he received invitations from two of his contacts. He commiserated while I was fuming, offering the opinion that they don’t deserve to stay in business… And in true blogosphere fashion, he already blogged about it. I second that and may you burn in spam hell, goowy.

And now, what do I do? Send a link to this post to all my contacts? Groan.

Update: Dennis has a warning of his own.

And Ben sums it up in biz terms for them:

Sure, this clever stunt may have (artificially) boosted your sign-ups, I’m sure the VC’s will love that. But it’s created a lot of immediate bad vibe about your product, and that’s before you realise the main service is just a crappy flash app. Considering the way you have gone about all this, what percentage of these signup do you think will ever come back? Very few I would suggest.

Thanks Goowy for showing the world how not to launch a website!

TAGS: None

26 Responses to “Goowy spam faux pas”

    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 10:51 am

    The important of sensible defaults.

    I’ve just had 3 invitations to join, from the same person.

  2. Mark
    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 12:07 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up. When I got the email this morning I was already weary that someone so web savy would be sending out an email like that, particularly as despite being in your address book you don’t actually know me from Adam, but I had a look at the goowy site and to be honest refrained from signing up after reading their privacy policy which in fact offers no privacy whatsoever. It was indeed a relief to see your post this morning and to note that you are even more pissed off about it than I.

  3. Marketing Begins At Home
    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 13:00 pm

    Go to spam hell

    I hate those Im using Blechster. You should try it!! emails. If you want me to try something, just drop me an email. And forget Plaxo. I hate Plaxo. Learn how to update your contacts the old fashioned way, by keeping up wit…

  4. Dennis Howlett
    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 13:24 pm

    Apologies Adriana – I didn’t realise the damned thing was going to effectively spam everyone on my gmail account either. I don’t recall seeing the invite text prior to hitting any ‘go’ buttons.

    The only good thing to come out of it is that at least I get to see all those that are dead letter boxes but like you I’m inundated with OOO stuff. I’m sure a fair few of them will be pissed off as well when they come back. Like you I got an invitation email from your good self.

    The crap doesn’t stop there. But more of that later – just for starters – assumes a US keyboard by the looks.

    And please – I am NOT associated with the dev on this in any way. I’m testing – or rather getting ready to incinerate this puppy.

    Once again – apologies.

  5. Adriana
    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 14:11 pm

    Dennis, need a helper to pass the ammunition? Count me in!

  6. Jackie Danicki
    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 19:57 pm


    Hey, I know how we should launch our business! Trick people into spamming their entire contacts books with icky promotional emails about how great our product is!
    The thinking behind Goowy goes something like that. Do you really need an…

    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 20:22 pm

    Goowy wants to make you a spammer!

    There is an e-mail program called Goowy which is one of a species of software I call ‘landmine-ware’, which is to say during the sign up process, on one of those bits no one actually reads, there is a yes-by-default opt-in box that allows the software …

    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 20:23 pm

    Goowy wants to make you a spammer!

    There is an e-mail program called Goowy which is one of a species of software I call ‘landmine-ware’, which is to say during the sign up process, on one of those bits no one actually reads, there is a yes-by-default opt-in box that allows the software …

  9. Licence to Roam
    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 20:39 pm

    Viral Marketing – or Spam

    Marketeers love the concept of viral marketing. Brand teams and agencies talk about getting websites and ads to ‘go viral’: ‘how can we make this go viral, what do we do to make it spread’ is a very common question….

  10. Piers Fawkes
    on Jan 3rd, 2006
    @ 23:54 pm

    I just thought your invite was being friendly. :)

  11. goowy
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 0:39 am

    We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. This was not at all our intent and we thought we made it very clear during the process (the invite font was big and red).

    Since a few people have had a problem with this we have changed the process so that this will not happen in the future.

    Again we are very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused and appreciate your understanding and support.

    You can see our posting about this on our site @

    - goowy team

  12. Adriana
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 0:44 am

    I am sorry but you did NOT make it very clear in the signing up process. Also, as I have commented here: – why would you want to recommend a service or product to your friends, when you are yourself just signing up to it and have no idea if it’s any good yet?!

    I suppose I ought to be glad you changed your practice(s)? but for me, it’s too late and the damage has been done…

  13. Dayorama
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 0:53 am

    A Goowy Mess

    Goowy’s botched invite-contacts check box and the subsequent fallout in the blogosphere.

  14. Alex Bard
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 1:09 am


    I am very sorry for the problem we caused you. I promise you this was not our intent and we thought we were being very clear ( The font is bigger and in red on the import / invite page).

    We did not realize that it would cause problems for people and have changed it in response to your concern. Again, I am personally very sorry. We have posted something on our site letting people know about our mistake and the correction.

    - Alex

    I hope that you can understand and forgive us for the problem this has caused you.

  15. cruel to be kind (Nicole Simon)
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 1:41 am

    Help me do no harm

    I was surprised today to see an invitation from Goowy, some flashy something email rss whatever toy. While I was still wondering why poor Adriana send it to me, I find through some more posts, that the default setting makes it very easy to spam all you…

  16. Licence to Roam
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 5:55 am

    Viral Marketing – or Spam

    Update: Goowy responded to this very quickly, commenting on the various posts, changing their sign up and posting an apology on their blog. They’ve recognsied the problem and corrected it; It was still a fundamental mistake to make in the…

  17. James Cherkoff
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 12:51 pm

    I did wonder what was going on….the email is written as if it’s from you and signs off as “your friend, Adriana’…not good.

  18. Nick Fowler
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 14:38 pm

    Power to the bloggers! Loving the humility…

  19. Andy
    on Jan 4th, 2006
    @ 15:48 pm

    Hey Adriana

    Joining the thread late… Delighted when I checked my emails today to find an email from you… only to find out it was a dud :( Will you be sending a real one to compensate?!

    No joy on starting my blog yet… too much travelling at the moment. Will happen though!


  20. Paul
    on Jan 5th, 2006
    @ 19:54 pm

    Get a life.

  21. Adriana
    on Jan 6th, 2006
    @ 2:11 am

    Why? I think they are highly over-rated…

  22. robinh
    on Feb 6th, 2006
    @ 14:16 pm

    Hi Adriana,

    Just got linked here from another blog about this new email client. I fully agree with you, a flashy front end with sneaky backdoor use of all your contacts, enough to put me off straight away. I will steer clear of any emails i get asking to join goowy. especially didn’t like the way they send emails in a format which implies you have typed it yourself

    power to the bloggers

  23. Chris
    on Feb 28th, 2006
    @ 22:09 pm

    Are you seriously blaming Goowy for your own mistake. Please. I signed up using the exact same process and managed to uncheck that box next to the glowing red text no problem. That’s definitely an operator error, and you should maybe pay more attention to what you are doing online.

  24. Jani
    on Jun 12th, 2006
    @ 13:24 pm

    Who cares

  25. Joe
    on Jun 12th, 2006
    @ 13:36 pm

    I Agree

  26. gallowayasa
    on Oct 24th, 2007
    @ 16:28 pm

    how do i opt out of groowy? thanks all

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