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Vonage spams customers, burns influentials, gets people really angry

Vonage is harvesting names from their refer-a-friend program to send spam promotions.

I am a Vonage customer.  In December, 2004 I entered 18 friends’ email addresses in their refer-a-friend program.  This was clearly intended to be a one-time referral, on an opt-in basis, from me to my friends. 30 months later ….

Vonage1 Vonage crossed all lines of good taste, privacy, and ethics.  They send a mass email to my friends — USING MY NAME — in a shameless promotion.  In fact, my name was used in the email 3 times, as if I had endorsed the message and gave permission to use my friends’ names.

  • Vonage is harvesting names from their refer-a-friend program to send spam promotions.
  • Vonage is violating their customers privacy by using data from customer accounts for a marketing campaign.
  • Vonage has used their customers names for testimonials without permission of the customers.

Wow.  Vonage is so evil on so many levels.  And stupid.

What they did …

  • creates massive, insane anger
  • is illegal – violates both CAN-SPAM and privacy statutes
  • perverts the trust of their best customers, those who were willing to recommend them to their friends
  • turns influentials into enemies

Warning: If you use the Vonage refer-a-friend program, they will harvest your friends’ email address and spam them for years, using your name.

If this has happened to you:

1. Repost this message (and link back here)
2. Comment on this blog If the rest of their customers are as angry as I am, this won’t be the end of it.
3. Digg this

(The saddest thing is that Vonage could have been a truly great company. Google great, Salesforce.com great.  All they had to do was not be the phone company — a very low bar. But they are so much more horrible that even the phone companies ever were. Worse service, worse support, and a crappy attitude.  What a shame.)

Related Posts:

  1. Vonage community forum Customers are getting angry. This is a site NOT controlled by Vonage, and they are about to see the power of their community.
  2. Matt Blumberg, ReturnPath: What An Ugly Way to Use Email
  3. Shel Israel: Slimeball award
  4. Michael Parekh:  Ill-advised marketing tactics
  5. Daniel Terdiman, CNET
  6. Jordan Ayan, SubscriberMail: They could not have really thought this through
  7. Janine Popick, VerticalResponse: Vonage has bad email practices
  8. Mark Brownlow: How the Internet Maginifies Your Mistakes
  9. Mike Clark: Vonage abusing your friends
  10. MailChimp: Vonage abuses tell-a-friend program
  11. AWeber: Why Permissions’ Not Optional
  12. EFF
  13. Al Iverson: Vonage did what?

Update:  Feel free to contact Vonage directly.  They shared my email, so feel free to use theirs.

Meghan Shaw, 732-203-7133, meghan.shaw@vonage.com
Leslie Arena, 732-203-7372, leslie.arena@vonage.com
Michael de Senna, 732-231-6576, michael.desenna@vonage.com
John Yocca, 732-528-2677, john.yocca@vonage.com

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