Photoworks.com– Incompetent, or enabling spammers?

I own my own domain. As a result, I can create my own email addresses for whatever reason I choose. A lot of times, I will create a special email address to use when conducting business with one specific company. I will often put the name of the company with whom I am doing business right in the address. This allows me to track which companies sell my information.

Waaaay back on January 19, 2004, I registered at Photoaccess.com. The email address I used was photoaccess@mydomain.tld. I ordered from them once, on January 20, 2004.

On March 18, 2005, Photoaccess.com emailed me to let me know that they were now Photoworks.com. They emailed me one more time in 2005 (a week later), and I never heard from them again.

Until today.

Today I received some spam to the account I used only for registration with Photoaccess.com/Photoworks.com. The “company” was trying to sell me “sunroom remodeling,” which is odd since I don’t have a sunroom.

So three things could have happened:

1. Photoworks.com sold/leased my email address to the spammer. I read their privacy policy. If they did sell/lease my information to a third party, they violated their own Privacy Policy, which reads: Your email address and financial information are used by PhotoWorks to conduct business with you and are not rented or sold to any other third party unless you explicitly give us permission to do so. I never explicitly gave them permission to share my information with sunroom remodelers, so if they did share my information, they are incompetent and enabling spammers.

2. Photoworks.com had a security breach, with the end result being that my company-specific email address was revealed to a third party. If this is the case, it is safe to assert that incompetence played a role in this breach of my privacy, unless Photoworks.com considers a breach of their customers’ privacy to be the result of a competent security policy. If incompetence is the cause, and that incompetence enabled a spammer, then Photoworks.com is incompetent and enables spammers.

3. Someone may have randomly guessed that I conducted business with Photoworks.com back in 2004– when they were Photoaccess.com. They may have also randomly guessed that I used the company’s name in the email address used for conducting that business. They then utilized that miracle of random chance to send me spam. That is so unlikely that I suggest it is an impossibility.

So, Photoworks.com– you will never get any business from me again. Ever. And anytime someone asks me where I get my photos printed– something that happens quite a bit considering that I am the free, on-call technology consultant for my entire (large) family– I will respond with…

“Whatever you do, don’t order from Photoworks.com. They are either incompetent, or enabling spammers, or both.”

I’ll forward this post to them and post any response I receive.

That is all.

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