I recently got an email from someone who apparently had just changed their internet provider to PeoplePC. As an aside, if this person had asked my advice (which he/she didn’t), I would have advised them to choose a different service. My observations from a few customers that use PeoplePC have led me to believe that it is not much better than AOL. But that’s a side issue. Here is the email I received:
I have changed my Internet service provider to PeoplePC Online and have a new e-mail address. My new e-mail address is: ***********@peoplepc.com. Please use this e-mail address from now on. I’m getting great Internet access for a great price. If you’re interested in doing the same, you should visit www.peoplepc.com.
Do you find anything unusual about this email? Okay, it’s obviously a pre-formatted, cookie-cutter form message that was sent out by PeoplePC on behalf of this user. The thing is, the only part that identifies this user is the new email address. I don’t know what the old email address was, I don’t know the person’s name, I don’t even know if it’s a man or a woman. So how do I edit my email address book (or my newsletter subscription list)? You can’t change a person’s address in your list if you don’t know who the person is.
But it doesn’t stop there. As a courtesy, I clicked “reply” to the email and wrote a brief message explaining that in order to change the entry in my newsletter list from the old one to the new one, I would need to know a name, or at least what the former email address was. I sent that email, and a few minutes later, I receive a reply from “firstname.lastname@example.org” that said the following:
This is an automatic reply to your email message to *********@peoplepc.com
This email address is protected by PeoplePC spaminator. Your email message has been redirected a “Suspect Email” folder for **********@peoplepc.com. In order for your message to be moved to this recipient’s Inbox, he or she must add your email address to a list of allowed senders.
Click the link below to request that ********@peoplepc.com add you to this list.
Huh? Are the PeoplePC computers this stupid? They send me an email, and when I reply to that email, they don’t know whether or not I am a spammer? I don’t want to go too far here, but this is almost a Yahoo-level of incompetence.
I played along and clicked the link. I was then instructed to fill in my first and last name, write a brief sentence to identify myself to the recipient (hey, there’s a novel idea!), and then pass the “are you a human” test by typing the characters I saw in the window. I am still waiting anxiously to see if I made the cut.
Ironically, the first email I received from them actually met the definition of spam (unsolicited commercial email). I did not request any email from them, and they sent me an email promoting their “service”. That makes it spam.
I have always advised to not use the email account that comes with your internet service; PeoplePC just added to those reasons.