I HAVE A PROBLEM with Stumbleupon that I would like see addressed--it's far too easy to spam your friends with an invitation to Stumbleupon because the service is set up for send email to all your friends as a default if you give Stumbleupon permission to access your address book. This kind of default spam-all behaviour has caught me out before and has victimised me once again. While my laptop was recovering from a flat battery, I used a four-year old Nokia 9500 to check out a few things that Statcounter showed me. Statcounter discovered hundreds of people stumbling upon a blog post from the weekend so I sniffed around, signed up for Stumbleupon then started seeing a few results. Here's my take on the Stumbleupon service.
1. I despise opt-out services like Stumbleupon. Instead of opting in your selection of friends for follow-on emailing, Stumbleupon pulls everyone's name and email address and that means you will fire out many more invitations than you intend. This stumblespamming happened to me because Stumbleupon served me a screen filled with names that were located below the submit button for a previous selection.
Specifically, Stumbleupon finds people you may know who are already using its service. If you decide you want to share information with them, you can keep their names selected. I didn't want to do that because I wanted to see information only from a few people. So I deselected a dozen check marks and then I submitted the result. Since I was working on a small mobile phone screen, I failed to see that I was also submitting hundreds of names and addresses harvested from my Yahoo! address book. There is no way I would invite all 1167 names in my Yahoo! address book to anything I do. Some of those email addresses belong to dead people. Some of the emails sent direct text messages to unlock doors. Other emails fire off text messages to people in the States who have to pay for the text messages.
2. Stumbleupon installs a toolbar. This isn't a problem if you control your anti-spyware programs. It is a big problem on some corporate networks where every plug-in and revision to the browser needs prior screening. You need the Stumbleupon toolbar if you expect to see Stumbleupon results when looking up things on Google.
I want the team behind Stumbleupon to answer my email about the way they set up unsuspecting punters as their spam agents. I don't appreciate being misled, although I know I am ultimately responsible for the buttons I press when online. Months ago, I swore I would not open my Yahoo! master address book to anyone. I was lured into a false sense of security with Stumbleupon because I had just approved access to my Flickr account to a service that made a nice book from a photostream. As a result of my carelessness, hundreds of my friends now think I'm a total ejit.
They didn't need Stumbleupon to tell them that.