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Spam Grows On Trees
I got this e-mail from mamasource@mamasource.com, subject line: "(Friend's first name and last initial") has sent you a tree." This person is a friend of mine, and I was a little surprised to get some e-click dealie from her, but I didn't want to hurt her feelings, so I clicked the link and clicked to plant the damn tree. Grumbling all the way, because life is really too short for this kind of click this, click that shit. See below, I've copied in the text of that e-mail:

NAME DELETED has reserved a special tree planting for you!

Would you like to plant your tree now?

Planting your tree is 100% free
Yes, plant this tree! No, do not plant this tree

When you plant the tree DELETED has reserved for you, a real tree will be planted on your behalf through the non-profit group Trees for the Future

Trees for the Future has planted over 50 million trees since 1988!

This tree planting was reserved for you by DELETED from Malibu

In a message dated 1/26/08 11:51:12 AM, DELETED FOR PRIVACY writes:

That damn tree thing...I got an email from an old friend who wanted to connect me on “Mamasource.” And the next thing I knew, I hadn’t paid enough attention and the site had hijacked my yahoo email directory. I hope it won’t generate any spam for you. Yikes!

I wrote to the company:

I got some dumb plant a tree message via your site (from an editor friend, and I didn't want to offend her, so I clicked on it and filled in my e-mail address). Later, I got the e-mail address below back from her. Please advise. If this happens to me (my address book being hijacked) I will take legal action against your company, and write about it, too. Far and wide. I await your reply. -Amy Alkon, syndicated columnist

The Mamasource asshats respond:

Dear Amy,

This is Anne at Mamasource Member Support. Thanks for your message and we are very sorry for any inconvenience.

Contacts from your email address book that are checked and highlighted in bright yellow are only contacted during the registration process if you click the button to "Select Moms and Invite". In this case, those highlighted contacts receive an invitation to join Mamasource.

Just so you know, although the invitations have already gone out, from now on your contacts will not receive any additional Mamasource invitation emails from you.

Again, we are very sorry for any inconvenience. Please let me know if you need any assistance and I will be happy to help you.

Warmly,
Anne
Mamasource Member Support

"Dear Amy," she writes? If I were so dear to you, I'd still be doing the work I need to do, and not sending out e-mails to see if my address book has been compromised. Here's the e-mail I wrote Anne back:

I didn't click "Select Moms and Invite," so what do you mean "Invitations have already gone out"? Do you have evidence that e-mails have gone out to my entire address book? What do you mean, "highlighted in bright yellow"?

Let me make this clear: I need to know to whom any invitations have gone to from my e-mail address, and I need to know immediately.

I am completely disgusted. I've been working nonstop since about 5am, with a tiny break for lunch, and the last thing I need to do is reparations because of your site's sneaky method of getting members.

This is my work e-mail, and this is not only embarrassing, it may be hurtful to me.

Please advise IMMEDIATELY. I am supremely pissed off and I need to know immediately so I might attempt to protect myself. -Amy Alkon

If you get an e-mail from Mamasource, I suggest you delete it immediately. A sampling of my friends reveals no Mamasource (ick!) spam from me (ie, "Amy A wants to plant a tree [up Mamasource's founder's ass])...probably because I'm too suspicious to click more than "yes, I want a fucking tree planted" upon seeing my friend's name and the city where she lives.

As always, beware of e-mails bearing shit you don't want in friends' names from dubious places.

Posted by aalkon at January 28, 2008 4:33 AM

Comments

Don't worry about the tree, Amy. I am going to plant some on our tree farm this coming spring, and I will plant *two* of them in your name--twice as many as Mamasource offered. You don't have to waste any time clicking on anything for the privilege, either.

Posted by: Axman at January 28, 2008 6:53 AM

Amy, I had a similar experience with an 'e-vite' card when a friend of mine was retiring from the Navy. She sent me an invitation over this website and it said you had to click something to view the invitation, when I did, it actually installed some program that gave the e-vite company a line into your hard drive. Luckily, I had used a computer at the office to do this which had a high level security on it and stopped it immediately. It was less than a couple months later that I heard the guy was arrested who ran the e-vite company for stealing information off peoples computers with this scam.

I get emails from people I know all the time that are like hallmark e-cards and I will never open any of them again.

The other thing that I get a LOT of is these asshats sending you some poofy touchy feeling thing with kittens on it or something telling you how much they love you and send this to ten other people and your wish will come true. I don't care how many times I tell people to stop, these are just tools to collect email addresses, people just keep sending them.

Posted by: Bikerken at January 28, 2008 9:46 AM

I HATE e-vites.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at January 28, 2008 10:11 AM

Beware. The links shown in emails can be hacked so that the real link is different than the printed link.

Clicking on any link in an email can start up and direct your browser to a website which can then try to do various automatic hacks on your computer.

The only safe way to get to a site is to copy the link text into your browser address bar and go there directly.

Even worse, the buttons "Yes" and "No" on any popup box generated by a website can both do the same action (!), and your security may then allow this "approved" action to install software on your computer.

The only safe way to dismiss a popup box on an untrusted site is to click the "X" button in the upper-right corner of the box frame. That "X" is generated by your own computer's software.

If that "X" button does not do anything, then the site has really hacked up your interaction, and you should close your browser (if possible), or finally use the Task Manager application on your computer to select the browser program and kill it.

Posted by: FrankBoston at January 28, 2008 1:34 PM

If I believed in heaven and hell, I would hope that there was a special corner of hell specifically reserved for email spammers. One where they would be forced to print out and eat every single spam letter they've ever sent.

Posted by: Bad Kitty at January 28, 2008 2:51 PM

Gahh! Amy, you should know not to click on a damned thing, Mac or not. That's an AOLer "signature" move.

By the way, there are instructions for setting OS 10.3 up securely at this link:

www.nsa.gov/snac/os/applemac/osx_client_final_v_1_1.pdf

They also have instructions for 10.4.

Posted by: Radwaste at January 28, 2008 3:36 PM

Hell, I don't even open these email cards that friends send ... I don't generally follow any links that arrive by email.

Posted by: Norman at January 28, 2008 3:47 PM

I'm glad I deleted the emails I got from Mamasource then. Mine didn't mention a tree, though, they said some lady I don't know (Cynthia W., as I recall) had invited me to join. Anybody else get this version of the scam?

Posted by: Wacky Hermit at January 31, 2008 8:32 PM

I am planning to report these clowns to the FTC. I have gotten two of these. The first time, I naively opened it but did not register. I still ended up getting DAILY emails.

Check out their privacy policy:
"E-mail. If you register with our site, from time to time, we may e-mail you with informative messages about our services or third party products and services we believe may be of interest to you, such as new features and services, special promotions and updated information. The newsletters may contain code that enables our database to track your usage of the newsletters, including whether the email was opened and/or what links (if any) were clicked. We will combine that information to other information we have about you and may use that information to improve your site experience and/or provide customized e-mail communications to you."

Complain to the BBB, FTC and AG if you have the time (who really does?)

Posted by: megagirl13 at February 4, 2008 9:43 PM

Same thing. I sent this tree spam to 1064 contacts from my yahoo acct. I'm still receiving thank you notes from people I haven't talked to in ages, "It means so much to me that you sent me that invitation to plant a tree..." blah blah blah!
That site is a nightmare.

Posted by: Leila at February 5, 2008 3:34 PM

Hideous. Please do report these assholes and blog about this, too.

And thanks, Raddy, will check it out.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 5, 2008 5:13 PM

Mamasource uses techniques for populating their site that border on ILLEGAL. They do not comply with the CAN-SPAM act.

They "harvest" email addresses and they do not provide an opt-out method or unsubscribe link prominently.

Beware of anyone who asks for your email password...like Mamasource!

Posted by: Kate at February 5, 2008 8:21 PM

I had the same thing happen with Mamasource yesterday. I accepted the tree invitation from my sister, and that was it. Somehow it took over my At&t yahoo email address list, because I have received many emails either asking me if this is legitimate or a virus, or thanking me for thinking of them. It sent it to my kids teachers, volunteers at our school...I'm so embarrassed!!!

Posted by: Molly at February 5, 2008 8:47 PM

I suggest trying to bring legal action against them. I notice that they gave no phone number in their e-mails -- not a surprise, considering the way they do business, that they'd rather not be reached.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 5, 2008 10:39 PM

I just sent this e-mail to them:

I wrote about the time-suck you guys did to me -- via your spamming a friend's entire address book. Now, commenters on my site are posting about similar things:

I had the same thing happen with Mamasource yesterday. I accepted the tree invitation from my sister, and that was it. Somehow it took over my At&t yahoo email address list, because I have received many emails either asking me if this is legitimate or a virus, or thanking me for thinking of them. It sent it to my kids teachers, volunteers at our school...I'm so embarrassed!!!

Not surprising that it seems impossible to contact you by phone. I need to invoice somebody at your company for my time and the aggravation and fear -- loss of peace of mind -- I went through due to your business practices. Please send the proper address and phone number and the name of the head of your company. --Amy Alkon

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 5, 2008 10:46 PM

Here's the e-mail I got back:

In a message dated 2/5/08 10:55:25 PM, support@mamasource.com writes:


Dear Amy,

This is Cynthia at Mamasource Member Support. Thanks for your message and we are very sorry for any inconvenience.

Contacts from your email address book that are checked and highlighted in bright yellow are only contacted during the registration process if you click the button to "Select Moms and Invite". In this case, those highlighted contacts receive an invitation to join Mamasource.

Just so you know, although the invitations have already gone out, from now on your contacts will not receive any additional Mamasource invitation emails from you.

Again, we are very sorry for any inconvenience. Please let me know if you need any assistance and I will be happy to help you.

Warmly,
Cynthia
Mamasource Member Support


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Amy A
Received: February 06, 2008 06:52
To: Member Support
Subject: your disgusting business practices - from Amy Alkon, syn. columnist and blogger

I wrote about the time-suck you guys did to me -- via your spamming a
friend's entire address book. Now, commenters on my site are posting about similar
things:

I had the same thing happen with Mamasource yesterday. I accepted the tree
invitation from my sister, and that was it. Somehow it took over my At&t yahoo
email address list, because I have received many emails either asking me if
this is legitimate or a virus, or thanking me for thinking of them. It sent it to
my kids teachers, volunteers at our school...I'm so embarrassed!!!

Not surprising that it seems impossible to contact you by phone. I need to
invoice somebody at your company for my time and the aggravation and fear --
loss of peace of mind -- I went through due to your business practices. Please
send the proper address and phone number and the name of the head of your
company. --Amy Alkon

Amy Alkon
The Advice Goddess
Syndicated Columnist
in over 100 newspapers
www.advicegoddess.com
now blogging daily

**************
Biggest Grammy Award surprises of all time on AOL Music.
    
(http://music.aol.com/grammys/pictures/never-won-a-grammy?NCID=aolcmp003000000025
48)

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 5, 2008 11:32 PM

And here's the message I sent back to the sleazebags:

Cynthia, perhaps you're not even a person. I've gotten this e-mail before - clearly it's just an electronically generated turd you send out to anyone who complains about your company's most creepy business practices. I want the name, address and phone number of the person who runs your company. -Amy Alkon, syndicated columnist

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 5, 2008 11:33 PM

Mamasource is the site of a guy named Artie Wu. Looked him up in SF, hoping to call him and drag him out of bed, just like I was kept awake with worry by his business practices. Details here:

http://www.mamasource.presskit247.com/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=1442

Artie Wu is founder of Mamasource (www.mamasource.com), an online community designed to connect moms in local areas for support and advice.

Broadcast:

Artie Wu is founder of Mamasource, an online community designed to connect moms in local areas for support and advice. The former founder and CEO of Internet market research company Vividence, Inc. now focuses on making the job of being a mom a little easier. Mamasource groups are located in just about every city in the country and connect moms of all ages for support on everything from how to soothe a teething baby to how to deal with a grown child's divorce. If you would like to learn more, visit www.mamasource.com. Welcome, Artie.

Full Bio:

Artie Wu is founder of Mamasource, an online community designed to connect moms in local areas for support and advice.


Artie was born and raised in Queens, New York. He attended the prestigious Regis High School and, though he went on to earn degrees at both Harvard and Stanford, considers the education he received at Regis to be the most significant to his success.


While still studying at Stanford, Artie was approached by InfoSeek president Steve Kirsch to find out why people were favoring Yahoo! Search engine over InfoSeek. This led to the creation of Vividence, Inc., which specialized in Internet market research with fellow Stanford student Steve Ketchpel in 1998. Vividence, Inc. was acquired by Keynote Systems in 2004, making Mamasource Artie's second venture.

Launching a business the second time around has been a pleasant experience for Artie. "The fear of the unknown is not as big – you know how things can turn out. Things are more relaxed, less stressful."


He considers founding Mamasource to be a blessing in that it helps make the job of being a mom a little bit easier.


"We focus on connecting moms with each other. We know we've succeeded at the end of the day when members come away with "that's a really nice group of moms," said Artie of Mamasource. "We don't have a lot of experts running around the site – we don't write articles or editorials about what people should do – this is a place for moms to connect with other moms."

Artie lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children. He is an avid rock climber and finds peace and focus through meditation, which he began practicing at age 14.

Really? Have a crappy day, shitbag. Inner peace? I might have a little more of it if I got the hours of my life back that I lost worrying that I'd just sent spam to my entire address book.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 5, 2008 11:51 PM

Hi Amy - I had the same thing happen to me and it infuriates me because they are acting like a trusted resource, yet here they are harvesting people's email addresses, a completely unethical tactic.


My new saying is


Plant a Tree, Spam a Friend!

Instead of saying


Connecting Moms In Your Community


it should say...


COLLECTING Moms In Your Community!

I think it is very unethical and I wonder if it isn't illegal as well. There is something called the CAN-SPAM act that regulates commercial email activity, and I do believe they are in violation of several of those regulations.

If you do receive an email from Mamasource, simply forward it, in its entirety to spam@uce.gov and if you really like this site, please write them and tell them you don't appreciate their unethical tactics, although I am not sure you'll get much more than an auto-generated reply, like the one I received.


You can write them here:


support@mamasource.com


To read my story, please visit:

http://mamasource.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Kate Author Profile Page at February 6, 2008 10:01 AM

WHAT IS GOING ON? GOT PLANTING A TREEE, FRIENDS NAME. OPENED IT BUT THEN DELETED IT AND I SHUT DOWN. HOURS LATER WENT BACK ON AND HAD 3 TROJAN HORSE THREATS. TODAY,EMAIL AGAIN; MOMASOURSE W/ NAME:RADHIKA E WANTS TO CONNECT. JUNKED THAT.
WHAT A HEADACHE!!....

Posted by: babs at February 6, 2008 12:18 PM


Amy, believe it or don't, they have a whole new scam today. It's this "flower card" thing. I got hit hard, all these people writing to me today saying "Oh, thanks for thinking of me!" Jesus Effing Christ, I'm sure some of this spam went to friends I have who can't conceive. That's the real bastard part of this. I sent them an email ripping them 5000 new a-holes. They sent back that canned email similar to what they wrote above. If you allow gratuitous cussin' and ball breaking in your comments, I can post the marvelously angry emails I sent them. But I'd rather just find who I can report them to. I own up to my stupidity, but this is ridiculous.

Posted by: Maria at February 7, 2008 10:29 PM


Oh! I just saw your post over at the MS blog. YES, there's an address:

Admin Name........... DNS Hostmaster
Admin Address........ 1032 Irving St. #983
Admin Address........
Admin Address........ San Francisco
Admin Address........ 94122
Admin Address........ CA
Admin Address........ UNITED STATES
Admin Email.......... hostmaster@postmaster.mamasource.com
Admin Phone.......... +1.4159248408
Admin Fax............

I got this from Whois.org, a place where you can check domains to see who has registered them.

Posted by: Maria at February 7, 2008 10:31 PM

Amy - I just spoke with Trees for the Future.

They have no idea who Mamasource is, and they are NOT affiliated with them in any way!

If anyone still has their original TREE email invite, please let me know!

Posted by: Kate Author Profile Page at February 8, 2008 2:32 PM

Thanks, Maria - I looked fast at verisign who is and didn't see it. I have my original e-mail - will forward it to you, Kate.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 8, 2008 2:42 PM

Just spoke to Dave there, too (at Trees For The Future), and forwarded him the e-mail, and also this link. He said haven't gotten anything from these people, and had never heard of them until your call (just before mine).

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 8, 2008 2:49 PM

There's nobody at that number. I think it's the one I tried to call for Artie Woo in the middle of the night. When people behave badly, I like to get them out of bed and tell them so.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 8, 2008 2:51 PM

Actually, Trees For The Future lists mamasource on its partnerships page:

http://www.treesftf.org/partnerships/partner.htm

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 8, 2008 2:52 PM

I just got out of bed at 3:30 this morning because I was having nightmares about the mamasource mess. I was panicked that maybe the site had stolen addresses. I didn't click on the select and invite button, but my computer crashed when I closed the box.
I changed my password this morning, I am terrified that a bunch of people might be getting this junk from me.

I truly hope closing the box helped avoid passing this on to other people.

Posted by: Sheryl at February 10, 2008 4:01 AM

Please spread the word. I went through what you did, and would like to see that nobody else does.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 10, 2008 5:44 AM

Ladies -

Please visit my blog for updates on this whole Mamasource fiasco!

Mr. Artie Wu is up to no good and I could use your help spreading the word.

I have posted many blog posts over the course of the weekend and I am asking for your help to get to the bottom of this.

He has involved wonderful non-profit organizations like The Breast Cancer Fund and Trees For The Future and has hijacked countless women's address books along the way.

I am only one person, and I NEED YOUR HELP!

Please visit my blog at:

http://mamasource.blogspot.com

THANK YOU!

Posted by: Kate at February 10, 2008 7:21 PM

Great, Kate. I've written to Artie, inspired by your e-mail to him, and have yet to hear back. Not a surprise.

Here's my e-mail to him (artie@mamasource.com):

Artie, Katie forwarded me your message. I spent a sleepness night and wasted a good bit of time thanks to the way your company seizes address books -- and they have seized address books, contrary to your claim in your e-mail below -- for example, that of a managing editor at a major newspaper whose name was on the e-mail I got from your company at my personal e-mail address -- one few people have. After I wrote back to her and found out her address book had been spammed by mamasource, and I was mortified that I might be sending out annoyance mail and an e-mailed sign that I was gullible to professional contacts I've had in my address book since I joined AOL in the early 90's, your company did NOTHING to allay my fears. All I ever got were auto-replies from your company, despite my repeated requests for a real person to talk to there. This cost me more time, and was very frustrating.

My registration is not private because I have nothing to hide. In fact, my phone number is listed in the phone book, and my mailing address is published on my site. You, on the other hand, do not seem to stand behind your site in an open way. The only "people" I can reach at Mamasource appear to be spambots, as they sent me the exact same earnest message on two occasions, which said emails had already gone out to my address book, causing me further worry. I value my time and peace of mind, and through your business practices, you have commandeered both. I resent this.

Again, the friend whose name the e-mail came in to me said she did not sign up anyone; her address book was spammed. She was horrified that I'd gotten the e-mail in her name. Others have told me the same.

Additionally, I'd like to know how much money your company has given to Trees so far -- money received by them at this juncture, not simply "pledged."

I await your answers. And your phone number. -Amy Alkon, syndicated columnist and blogger

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 10, 2008 8:02 PM

Thank you for writing about Mamasource! I've received two emails from Mamasource telling me "Denise R wants to connect with you on Mamasource". That made me suspicious, so I did a Google search for Mamasource and found this page! I'm so glad I never opened those emails. I've marked them as spam so that Yahoo! knows about it.

Posted by: Jeanster at February 14, 2008 3:07 PM

Thank you so much. This Artie Wu has yet to write back to me -- what a surprise that he doesn't account for his company when asked.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 14, 2008 10:56 PM

I just found an ad on Craigslist posted by the folks at Mamasource looking for a Project Manager.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/sof/571239120.html

The founder, Artie Wu, has been involved in a lot of venture capital projects and this one is his baby.

He knows damn well how much money moms spend and he is out to line his pockets and take these moms for all they've got. Albeit, it is not an unusual business model, but his story is just that, a story! He told me he just wants to make the lives of moms "a little easier" and that he just wanted to help him wife find playdates for his daughter.

I call BS on all of it!

He uses unethical techniques to increase his subscriber base and he uses highly technical means to mine information from them for his personal gain.

Please keep checking Amy's blog here, and my blog at http://mamasource.blogpsot.com

and please spread the word. Tell your friends!

And never, ever give your password to anyone who asks for it, no matter how many trees might get planted on your behalf!

Posted by: Kate at February 15, 2008 9:58 PM

Text of their job ad is below, giving valuable information about where they're actually located (information that's been hidden, I'm guessing, due to the nature of their business practices. I mean, if I were spamming people's address books, I wouldn't want to give a location either).

Mamasource employment ad follows:

Reply to: job-571239120@craigslist.org Date: 2008-02-12, 3:54AM PST


Mamasource is a well-funded, early-stage Internet startup taking a deep
and unique approach to serving the needs of moms. Since launching in
2007, our online network of local Mom communities all across America has
grown at an exciting pace while being featured extensively on TV, radio,
and print.

Why are moms so important?
- Moms control 80% of U.S. household spending totaling $1.4 trillion
annually.
- Their #1 source for getting reliable information is via word-of-mouth
from other moms - more than TV or magazines, more than the Yellow Pages.
- Everyone from the largest brands to the local plumber relies on moms as
customers, and they spend $100 billion each year on local advertising.

We are creating vibrant, local online communities where millions of Mom
decision-makers come to confer every day around vitally important issues
like raising their families, personal well-being, and their household
spending decisions. We then connect them with the providers of the goods
and services they need in a highly effective and personalized manner.

From day one, you will work closely with veteran founders who have been
backed in the past by Kleiner and Sequoia, and you'll be able to count
your co-workers on two hands.

You will find that building a community for moms that actually works is
an amazingly challenging intellectual and technical problem - combining
sophisticated algorithms, constant analysis of massive amounts of data,
user experience design, and social engineering. We continually innovate
"under the hood" in ways that our members will never see. Ultimately,
what they experience is simply the most friendly, relevant, and
responsive group of local moms they've ever encountered online.

We stay focused on our customers, not the latest market or tech hype,
and we've got a sensible, well-grounded business model that is already
generating revenue. We work hard and love what we do, but we get a big
boost from knowing that our efforts make the lives of so many moms just
a little bit easier every day.

WE ARE SEEKING our first dedicated Product Management team member
outside of the founders, who will:

* Shape our deep understanding of the customer, including her needs and
behaviors, through data-driven analysis and gathering direct user
feedback.
* Define roadmaps, scope, goals, and priorities for product initiatives.
* Create dev-ready requirements and deliverables and work closely with
UE design, engineering, and QA teammates throughout the dev process.
* Define, measure, and manage against global metrics for product adoption,
retention, and revenue, up to and including owning P&L as appropriate.
* Execute successfully at the data-driven, micro-optimization level:
conversion rates, CTR, etc.
* Help make the company a great place to work and make a difference in
all areas of the company's success (it's a startup!)

QUALIFICATIONS:

We expect that you will have at least three years professional experience
in product management for web applications. We are not looking for any
particular domain expertise, but you must possess a true passion for the
web and have worked before on highly interactive web apps with a strong
consumer focus.

Everything we do is data-driven, so you must be a data hound: you're used
to living in the data and translating it into informed product decisions.
You wouldn't think of making a move without knowing by which metrics
success will be measured. You know Excel like the back of your hand. You
probably already know SQL, but if not then learning it should be no problem
for you. You are equally comfortable optimizing CTR and drop-off rates as
you are defining use cases and flows.

You must have extensive experience with the ins-and-outs of web
applications and the web applications development process. You must be
able to communicate requirements at a sufficient level of comprehensiveness
and technical detail where engineers and QA teammates can run with them
with minimal intervention. Handling corner cases comes naturally to you.

You are loved by the engineers you've worked with and are always finding
ways to make their jobs just a little bit easier and more efficient.

You must be comfortable directly interacting with customers when needed,
as gathering user feedback is part of the job.

A degree in Computer Science or other technical field is strongly
preferred, but not required.

Previous startup experience would be great.

Most importantly, we are looking for a talented, driven teammate who is
eager to work hard, learn quickly, and wear multiple hats.

We encourage all qualified product managers who fit the bill to apply.
This position is what YOU make of it: title and level of responsibility
will be commensurate with previous experience and growth on the job.

LOCATION:
You will work in beautiful Marin County within view of Mt. Tamalpais.
We are located minutes from both the Golden Gate and Richmond bridges
right off Hwy 101, making us within easy 20-30 minutes reach of San
Francisco (a reverse commute!), East Bay, and North Bay. We enjoy all
the benefits of being a startup in the SF Bay Area while remaining a
comfortable distance from the reality distortion field that tends to
permeate SOMA and South Bay.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
This is a full-time, permanent position based in Corte Madera, CA.
With a small team, we can be generous with equity. We also offer full
benefits including health, 401(k), and more. We strongly prefer
candidates who already live in the SF Bay Area, but we are willing to
consider the right person located anywhere in the US.

If what you've read sounds intriguing, please send your resume and a
description of why you fit the bill. Principals only please.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 16, 2008 1:06 AM

And here's the second e-mail I've sent to Artie Wu. Mr. Accountability has yet to reply to my first e-mail about their business practices.

I wrote, just moments ago, in an e-mail to the Craigslist ad address:

Artie, neither you nor anybody at your company has replied to my e-mail about all the people being spammed by you. I spent a sleepless night worrying that every business contact in my address book had been e-mailed from you. I got the "plant a tree!" e-mail in the name of a managing editor at a major newsweekly, and since she's no dumb cluck, thought it actually came from her and clicked the link. Numerous other people say they've been spammed by you -- had their address books hijacked. You need to be accountable for your business practices. I await your answers. -Amy Alkon

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 16, 2008 1:13 AM

I don't know if any of the people that are having problems with this guy have thought to check your computers for malware/spyware. I would just about guarantee if you use a separate program other than your anti-virus software to check for this, I am sure mamasource will be listed. I personally like spybot from www.download.com. It's a free utility that I use in conjunction with Norton Antivirus and I am happy to report, I have had no virus/spyware/malware infections in the two years of using both products. and no I don't personally work for either company. This man needs to be brought up on criminal charges if it's found that he is actually causing damage to peoples computers as well as hijacking e-mail address books. I believe the CAN SPAM law has jail time built into it.

Posted by: Roger Howell at February 19, 2008 3:21 PM

Thanks so much, Roger. I'm in Paris for a week, so I've been a bit behind on this. I'm also on a Mac, but I wonder if PC people are getting malware.

And whaddya know, Artie Wu has yet to write back. Anybody surprised?


Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 19, 2008 4:07 PM

yes yes, the Mac and PC fight *g*

Posted by: snooky at February 25, 2008 1:29 AM

I received the same email that everyone's been talking about, and I also clicked on the link and approved the planting of a tree in my name. After that, I probably should've stopped, but I proceeded to open up my email account through mamasource.com, to choose a couple of people to forward this offer to.


Unfortunately, I was very disappointed to realize that their system had already pre-selected/highlighted about 50-100 names from my email account--without my consent. If I had just selected from the top few names and pressed "Select Moms and Invite," that invitation would've gone out to half of my email directory, without my knowledge. Luckily I did scroll down through the list and saw what had been done...but I spent the next 20 minutes un-selecting/highlighting people's names, just to make sure they wouldn't be sent anything on my behalf.


I sent an email complaint to the company about this, and also submitted a formal complaint to the Better Business Bureau online (www.bbb.org). You may be interested (but not surprised) to know that MamaSource is NOT a BBB-accredited business. If you want to submit a BBB complaint about MamaSource, your complaint will be transferred to the Golden Gate (ie San Francisco) BBB office: www.goldengatebbb.org.


As a final note, it appears obvious to me that I am not quite as "passionate" as some of the other women who have posted to this blog. Although I agree that MamaSource has used devious marketing tactics here, I don't know why you would lose sleep over this. After all, your colleagues should understand that mistakes do happen, and if you did inadvertently perpetuate someone else's spam, all you have to do is send out your apologies and instructions not to open the previous email. It really shouldn't be that big of a deal, and I think some of the ladies on this site may have made a mountain out of a molehill here. We all have more important things to worry about, so don't give this anymore attention than it's worth...which is to say, little or none.

Posted by: prish at February 26, 2008 3:56 PM

This guy is an Internet expert, and I doubt this is an error.

I spent a sleepless night worrying that my entire address book had been spammed. I've been on AOL with the same e-mail address since the early 90's. That's a lot of people for me to look like a gullible idiot to.

I've worked hard to build a career and a reputation. How nice that you're able to sniff such things off.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 26, 2008 7:04 PM

While I am not losing sleep over this, I am being proactive. Hence my blog:

http://mamasource.blogspot.com

The reason I am staying proactive is because Artie Wu is clearly preying on mothers for his own personal gain under the guise of being a trusted "community site." And he is dragging non-profits like Trees For The Future and The Breast Cancer Fund right along with him.

Unlike many spammers, Artie Wu is enlarging his own wallet, smearing the good name of these non-profits, and bringing in women by the boatload under a false pretense.

I object to this, and will not stand down.

Artie has proclaimed to me in a personal email that there is a "programming error" which it obviously not true and still will not fix his daily digest so people can UNSUBSCRIBE! I find this ludicrous and highly unethical as well as in direct violation of the CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003 and again, I will not let up on this slime bag, who claims he started this site to help his wife find more playdates!

I am not in the habit in pursuing spammers, but this is a unique case. Look at all the rave reviews about Mamasource and then look at what they are really up to.

It is deplorable. This man needs to be stopped. People need to be aware of his unethical tactics.

Please don't let this one just slip by you. There are women out there like you and me being taken for a ride, having our wallets fleeced and being degraded in the name of "community."

Please visit my blog, find out who Artie Wu really is, read about his background in "Intelligence Mining" and know that his only intention is to take advantage of women, especially mothers!

http://mamasource.blogspot.com

Posted by: Kate Author Profile Page at March 6, 2008 6:24 AM

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