Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

At Least It Was Somewhat Relevant

As anyone who has read this blog before knows, I hate spam. However, as I've said int eh past, there is something I hate even more. In the past I have called it treet, after the spam-like canned meat.

I bring this up because it happened again. After having comments jammed into my blog from all types of spammers, selling rather suspicious items (like instant M.B.A's and even less savory products), I started moderating comments. That means that I go through the hassle of reviewing all potentially posted comments for content. I reject nothing that is not treet. Of course, since so few comments get posted, it's not a big job.

This brings me to the current post. Someone posted a comment in a blog entry I made over a year ago. March 2007 to be exact. The first thing that struck me was that someone was actually writing a comment to a blog posting that old. The second thing that got my attention was that it seemed actually relevant. It had to do with on-line backup but it seemed incredibility silly and not at all written like a serious comment. It said:

"I just discovered online backup and I think it’s a good way to protect data!"

That's like saying that they had just discovered cars and think they're a good way to get around. You could not have designed a more naive comment. My kids know what online backup is and think it's a good idea. Rather than jump to a conclusions I decided to look further. I mean, maybe this was someone who has been living in a cave with a goat.

The URL included with the post referenced two different companies. The first was for something called Clickmeter and the second for Memopal. Clickmeter is an online tracking and marketing company. They provide a way to track clickthroughs in embedded links, kind of like DoubleClick. This immediately gave me an icky feeling. Once again, this was not a legitimate comment to the blog! They probably have some automated program to insert these links into blogs and forums that match user selectable criteria. Everyone has a right to make a living but I think it's pretty clear that inserting advertising disguised as commentary is deceptive and, at least on my blog, heavily frowned upon.

The second part of the link seems to involve the company called Memopal. It is an online backup service. Here's where it gets sad. If they had sent me an e-mail pointing me at their site directly, and not as treet in my blog, I would have looked at it. If it was found worthy, I probably would have given them a post since I like online backup.

That's right, folks. If they hadn't tossed an ad into my blog they would have had a shot at a positive post. At worst I would have simply ignored them. Instead, here I am heaping scorn on them. Is this such a lame service that they need to spew spam/treet into blogs? Are they really on the same level with the fake college degrees and male enhancement products? Do they think it makes them look smart to have copy that looks like it was written by a teenager posting on Twitter? This does not give me confidence as a place to put my precious data.

To put it simply, this was stupid. Really stupid.

So, to summarize. Despite how obviously stupid it is to spam people, companies continue to do it. Even technology companies do it. Instead of creating an ally and promoter of their products (like I have been for Dropbox, Zoho, Stikkets, I Want Sandy, and others) they have become the subject of my ire.

Now, I'll bet some old school marketing wag is probably thinking "It doesn't matter what they say about you as long as they're talking about you!" Bull! If what they are saying is that you appear to be stupid and are contributing to the proliferation of spam, I doubt that works for you.

To Memopal I say this - whoever you hired to do this should be fired. Not in a month. Now. They clearly show poor judgment. If you don't really understand new media, stay away from it or hire someone who does. Do that now or you will find more and more derision heaped upon you and will not succeed.

Oh, and stay away from my blog.


Amharican said...

On the subject of file backup, sharing and storage ...

Online backup is becoming common these days. It is estimated that 70-75% of all PC's will be connected to online backup services with in the next decade.

Thousands of online backup companies exist, from one guy operating in his apartment to fortune 500 companies.

Choosing the best online backup company will be very confusing and difficult. One website I find very helpful in making a decision to pick an online backup company is:

This site lists more than 400 online backup companies in its directory and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.

Tom Petrocelli said...

Thanks for the info. I checked out the site and has reviews and ratings. I can't be sure what the methodology is for rating the products but, at the very least, you can get a long list of possible products to check out for yourself.

marco said...

Dear Tom,

My names is Marco, and I'm the co-founder and CEO of Memopal.

I want to apologize with all readers and bloggers.

Memopal signed a pay-per-result contracts with many marketing company. One of them used methodologies that we do not approve, including posting the same stupid message over 150 times.

I take the full responsibility of what happened.
I terminated the contract with the company. We will pay much more attention in selecting our providers in the future. We will use internal resources to contact bloggers in order to remove the comments that do not represent our company culture.

Tom, thanks again for alerting us before this could become a bigger problem and sorry again to all bloggers and readers.


Tom Petrocelli said...


Thank you for doing the right thing. I mean this in both the moral way and business way. It is right to admit that a mistake was made, take responsibility for it, and rectify it. It is also good business. I wish you well in building your company.