Thursday, January 28, 2016

Spam Buddies: Epicurious and Vanity Fair

It's bad enough that Epicurious sends me email spam every day that I've been powerless to stop. But then, long after I tried to unsubscribe from their emails, they give my email to their sister company, Vanity Fair, which starts sending me unwanted emails. I managed to get Vanity Fair to stop emailing me, but now it looks like the Epicurious email spam is pushing for people to subscribe to Vanity Fair. Their spam is now incestuous.


Nice. For only a dollar per month, I can subscribe to a shitty magazine! But all the unwanted emails--those will be free!

I did notice that Epicurious now has two different email footers. Looks like Conde Nast is consolidating all their spam into one giant machine.

The emails I've been getting all along have this footer:



But ever since Vanity Fair started emailing me, I noticed that the footer changed on the other emails coming from Epicurious.



Thursday, January 21, 2016

Avoid GearBest

GearBest was a decent seller for me, until they started with the shady behavior, which I'm the first to call them out for. So, I would avoid them if at all possible. I gave the full story on my outdoor blog, but this has sort of become a blog focused on consumer protection and similar issues relating to technology, and overseas online shopping seems to fall into that category.

Vanity Fair Now Spamming Me

Today I got an unsolicited email from Vanity Fair, who I have no relationship with, and I've never visited their site. But I noticed the email came from Conde Nast, which also owns Epicurious, which I have been fighting with for 3 over months, the whole time being mercilessly spammed by them. It's pretty easy to make the connection that Epicurious shared my email address with their sister company, so they can join in the spam fun. What's funny is that Epicurious gave them my email address after my fight began with them.

The tag line is ... ironic.




I notice that the return address emails are different between the two companies;

Vanity Fair: email@condenast.delivery.net
Epicurious: epicurious@email2.epicurious.com

So it looks like Vanity Fair uses a third party email service provider, where Epicurious is sending spam from their own domain. Third party ESPs are usually a little more strict about the behavior of their clients, so I think there's a fair chance that Vanity Fair will honor the unsubscribe request--we'll see. I just noticed that email from Vanity Fair seems to really be coming from Epicurious.



Wait, maybe not. Is this email from Vanity Fair, or is it from Epicurious? It seems a little suspicious. Thank you, Conde Nast for sending me spam from Vanity Fair on behalf of Epicurious!


I got an austere screen when I clicked on the button.
Wait, which company did I unsubscribe from? This was a Vanity Fair email. Also note that that 10 days is the maximum allowed under the CAN-SPAM act. And from building back-end corporate computer systems for the last 25 years, the time it takes for a large system to process something like this is measured in milliseconds--thousandths of a second. So, it's kind of a dick move to spam you the full 10 days after you tell them to stop. Some systems will do a big batch processing every night, so maybe one day could be believable. But the full 10 days, yeah, that's dickish.

Here are the email headers from the above email. I know Conde Nast must be feeling a little heat, because these articles are starting to get some traction, and I'm receiving email from readers angry about Epicurious. We'll see if Vanity Fair gets my ire.

Update 1/24/2016: looks like the unsubscribe took. Now if I could just unsubscribe from their sister company, that would be a real victory.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Epicurious Email Spam: The Saga Unfolds

It's pretty simple in theory. People obey the law because there are consequences for not doing so. The problem begins when those "people" are large, multi-national corporations. Couple that with an almost complete "regulatory capture" of the communication and tech industries, and well, the law doesn't always always apply to corporations.

For those following along, Epicurious seems indifferent to an unsubscribe request, emails to their company, complaints to both the FCC and FTC, and the few people in cyberspace making a stink about it. Their communication infrastructure seems fine, as they continue to email me every day, even twice a days over the holidays, so I wonder why they won't communicate with me other than via spam.

So, I'm coming up on 3 months of doing what I can to get these people to stop sending me emails. Not a day goes by that they don't send me an email, but when I email them, no response. Day after day from them, like we're friends. In fact, few of my good friends even email me twice a day.

I'm just going to keep telling my story and linking the proof that they are not obeying the law, and hopefully someday their actions will catch up with them. I still have yet to start contacting email providers to try to get their domains black listed.

Notice below that they are spamming me from two different recipients: "Epicurious" and "Epicurious Cook This Now"



Here's the email headers on one of those random emails so everyone can see this is the same email I unsubscribed from. Notice that it also provides an unsubscribe URL. As I've always said, I believe they will continue to spam me until they are faced with tangible consequences, and then they will say "oops it was a mistake, sorry" to weasel out of it. Mark my words!

Delivered-To: markwing@nerdjargon.com
Received: by 10.107.23.2 with SMTP id 2csp5969513iox;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
X-Received: by 10.98.65.2 with SMTP id o2mr16167950pfa.113.1451230078058;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path: <email@condenast.delivery.net>
Received: from client-1-133.delivery.net (client-1-133.delivery.net. [209.11.164.133])
        by mx.google.com with ESMTP id mi6si1938155pab.95.2015.12.27.07.27.57
        for <markwing@nerdjargon.com>;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of email@condenast.delivery.net designates 209.11.164.133 as permitted sender) client-ip=209.11.164.133;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com;
       spf=pass (google.com: domain of email@condenast.delivery.net designates 209.11.164.133 as permitted sender) smtp.mailfrom=email@condenast.delivery.net;
       dkim=pass header.i=@condenast.delivery.net
Return-Path: <email@condenast.delivery.net>
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha1; d=condenast.delivery.net; s=v1; c=simple/simple;
q=dns/txt; i=@condenast.delivery.net; t=1451230071;
h=From:Subject:Date:To:MIME-Version:Content-Type;
bh=7ZKMDiBhsTMl1Q0aWUmgBdt9dkc=;
b=SjmwIspMfkUkr0NG0vW+Q+HJLl2RuhSpH7ayWidJbyqJphz5dSaqaWIITyjMaXzZ
LUah5RHAAjba6dGNl9xRfUYGwt1AeAGNgmaafm3o6TRsXXQjLdPfzb64fYPrjMo4
vVwNdpFVrXX78ZJGmQIVZfsyzLshwM7Zqqb4CREFaDw=;
DomainKey-Signature: q=dns; a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws;
s=v1; d=condenast.delivery.net;
h=Received:Date:From:Reply-to:To:Message-ID:Subject:Errors-to:MIME-Version:Content-Type:X-eid:X-pid:X-AcxSID:List-Unsubscribe;
b=0xYpF/BseQpQIt/2vOswzzx+ajiigg8irxujI08RbZiTtS6HiL00SFp3Rm2l1TjJ
jHbdX40obVEkVye4mdgbJJLKDbcmCetWov8+V2p9xsy3fbhfcQbiidq+1sAcinSr
ocVRzNRcr3R9p0tVU5NfwS4IHi2wEqYoZjXQ02wsl0o=
Received: from [192.168.138.25] ([192.168.138.25:48675] helo=fcvm19a1.dc1.prod)
by oms12.dc1.prod (envelope-from <email@condenast.delivery.net>)
(ecelerity 3.3.2.44647 r(44647)) with ESMTP
id 1D/DD-31639-77300865; Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:51 -0800
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Epicurious <email@condenast.delivery.net>
Reply-to: email@condenast.delivery.net
To: markwing@nerdjargon.com
Message-ID: <15423509314.1451230076691@dc1.prod>
Subject: 20% Off The WIRED T-Shirt Collection.
Errors-to: email@condenast.delivery.net
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="---=_NEXT_151e40d9f0a"
X-eid: 2.5.3Kg.2hg.17syts.ENK1D2..N..1ZLy.CeVQETc0
X-pid: 406908
X-AcxSID: 13610.406908
List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:email@condenast.delivery.net?subject=unsubscribe%20xeid:2.5.3Kg.2hg.17syts.ENK1D2..N..1ZLy.CeVQETc0>

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Safeway Email Spam

It used to be just scammers and spammers would send you unwanted email. The CAN-SPAM act made it the law that companies had to provide an opt out process, and had to stop sending you email once you opted out. But we know how the law favors mega-corporations like Safeway, so more and more companies are realizing that this legislation isn't being enforced. Most companies, when called out, will say "oops" and blame technical difficulties before taking you off their mailing list. Just that alone provides a pretty high bar since you have to opt out, and then tell them that they aren't honoring your request. At which point they say something like "we apologize and value your privacy" to the people who jump through all the hoops.



And then there's companies like Epicurious, who are owned by overseas mega-corporations and don't seem to care. And right when I was down to only one company I couldn't get to stop spamming me, I get sick of Safeway's emails that look like a 12 year old was texting me, opted out twice over a two week span, and still get their emails. I opted out an extra time because I couldn't find the screen shots from last week, so this is opt out #3.

But where Epicurious is a shitty company owned in some far away land, Safeway is a store that's just down the street from me. Their prices are a little high, and their selection isn't that great, but they are close to me, and sometimes they have good coupons.

Having high prices and a mediocre selection, this Safeway next to me is never crowded. It doesn't seem like they have too many customers left like me to alienate, because they lost me as a customer. There's an Albertson's just as a close.

Right now is the beginning of the process. I opted out a couple times, and I'm posting the screen grab I made last week so that when I do the next installment of this post, it'll be easy to see that I didn't mess with the dates on the image, because their system says that it will take 24 hours to process the request. A week from now when I show a stack of emails, it'll be easy to see that they aren't honoring the request, if I don't get any farther in the process.

Bellow you can see it even has the address of the store that's no longer getting my business.






Thursday, November 19, 2015

FCC Response To Complaint Against Epicurious

Well, the FCC finally responded to my complaint. I wonder why big corporations like this can violate the law with no consequences, when, you know, there's no consequences. I'm really glad to hear that no further action is required, even though Epicurious continues to send me email almost two months after I pressed the unsubscribe button.

Oh, and I filed an FTC complaint the same day I filed the FCC complaint. I'm not holding my breath. Meanwhile, they send me spam every single day, weekends and holidays included.

FCC Consumer Complaints (FCC Complaints)
Nov 17, 10:32 AM
Hi Mark
Thank you for your submission. Your complaint provides the FCC with important information we can use to develop policies to protect consumers, remedy violations of the Communications Act, and encourage future compliance with the law.
The FCC appreciates the information you’ve shared with us. It appears that the Federal Trade Commission will be better able to assist you.
We urge you to contact that agency about this matter.
Please go to the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer website at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/. You can review educational materials or file a complaint.

As such, no further action is required by the FCC. Your complaint was closed as of today.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Android Explained: New Google Now Voice Commands

For anyone who ever said "Siri is nice, but Apple isn't my flavor of koolaid," then you will like some of the recent voice commands for Google Now. The voice commands were rudimentary at first, mostly focused on navigation. But in recent months, they have been really buffing it out with stuff you would expect to be there, like sending texts and alarms and such.

Being Google, there are some really cool commands in there like "do I need a jacket today?" and "turn on wifi".




Having suffered a neck injury a couple years ago, it affected one of my hands and made it hurt to text. Now it's easy to text someone by saying "OK Google text this person" and then you dictate the message with your voice, confirming at the end to send. This feature is still a little more basic than it should be, but already incredibly useful to someone like me who won't drink the Apple koolaid no matter how much it hurts to type.

Another of my favorite new voice commands is "OK Google set alarm for 9 AM"

Here is a really good writeup of the new commands as well. All you have to do is say "OK Google" to active a voice command. One of the commenters claimed that you can say "Ok dude" but that doesn't work for me.

Some of my useful favorites:


"What's the weather?"
"What time is it in [place]?"
"Navigate me to [place]"
"Send a text to [person]"
"Wake me up at [time]"
"Do I need a jacket?"
"What is the next turn?"
"What time will I get there?"
"Call [person]"
"Go go gadget [app]"
"Do I need an umbrella?"
"Read the last text"
"Are we there yet?"
"How far is [place]?"

Some of my fun favorite "easter eggs":


"Beam me up, Scotty"
"What does the fox say?"
"Who's on first?"
"Make me a sandwich"
"What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen Swallow?"
"What is the loneliest number?"
"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."





Some of my interesting favorites:


"Flip a coin"
"How old is [person]?"
"Who is [person] married to?"
"Who wrote [book]?"
"When is [holiday]?"
"When is the next episode of [tv show]?"
"What is the tip for [amount]?"
"What is the word for [word] in [language]?"
"Is John Snow dead?"