Is Grouply Spamming and Phishing You?
Do you belong to any Yahoo! groups? If so, you may have been solicited by one or more group members to subscribe to a service called Grouply. I do not want to link to this company, but it's easy to find their website. Grouply says that it organizes your messages from your various Yahoo! groups (soon to expand to Google and other groups) into one account. To subscribe to Grouply, you have to hand them your user i.d. and password for each group that you want to include in their service.
A member of one of my groups recently posted a warning to the group, writing that "Grouply can obtain your work through individual members and a handy tool to access private groups. Your work (and all information in the groups' archives and other files) could be collected by Grouply members and posted to their account. A specialty tool gives Grouply members access to private groups, even without a membership. Grouply members can click on members with similar interests and enter their otherwise private groups. All content posted from these groups can also be used by Grouply."
This warning caused another group member to contact Grouply for an explanation. We received this reply from Grouply's creator:
"We do not SPAM. People are referring to the invites that enthusiastic
users are sending to their groups. We provide a template they can
use, but unfortunately most people do not change the text so it looks
the same to all groups (and may look like SPAM). People were not
choosing which groups to send (as we expected them to do) - so some
groups were getting multiple invites. Honestly, this occurred last
weekend and surprised us. We just changed it so that people cannot
send an invite to a group if one was sent recently."
I really don't know what to think about Grouply. They don't "spam," they just send multiple invites to members of groups to purchase their service, using a template. They're surprised that their members used the template that they provided, and that their customers did not somehow coordinate amongst themselves to limit solicitations to one per group. Grouply now says that it will not send repeated solicitations to a group if a prior invite was sent to the group "recently," but their explanation does not define "recently."
I'm trying to keep an open mind about Grouply's legitimacy. But I don't understand their basic business premise. Why would someone need to organize their groups into one account, when one's groups are already neatly listed on one's MyYahoo! page or elsewhere, and one can already consolidate group messages into a simple digest form? One woman in my group says that she belongs to 250 different groups and has no problem keeping them organized herself.
One thing I do know: private online groups are no place for commercial solicitations, especially solicitations that are sent repeatedly using a template, which is spam by any common sense definition. If any of my groups get spammed in this manner, I'm going to contact the administrators pronto, and demand that the spammers be banned from the groups.