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:

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!

Received: by with SMTP id 2csp5969513iox;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
X-Received: by with SMTP id o2mr16167950pfa.113.1451230078058;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path: <>
Received: from ( [])
        by with ESMTP id mi6si1938155pab.95.2015.
        for <>;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
       spf=pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender);
Return-Path: <>
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha1;; s=v1; c=simple/simple;
q=dns/txt;; t=1451230071;
DomainKey-Signature: q=dns; a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws;
Received: from [] ([]
by (envelope-from <>)
(ecelerity 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 <>
Message-ID: <>
Subject: 20% Off The WIRED T-Shirt Collection.
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: <>