The Company Behind All That Address Book Scraping that Flixster, Facebook, and Others are Doing

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According to a tip received by the Internet Patrol, the resident evil behind the throngs of social networking and other sites that are tricking people into logging into their AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail accounts, and scraping their address book, has a name, and that name is Sigma Visual Technologies. Sigma Visual Technologies provides software that allows sites to get their users to import and email all of their contacts in their address books. Put another way, it lets these sites scrape and spam your contacts. In your name!

As the number of social networking sites such as Facebook, Quechup and Flixster that trick their users into logging into their AOL, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, and other similar accounts so that the site can scrape and spam their contacts from their address books, continues to grow, and as those sites continue to claim that it’s ok, because “everybody is doing it,” one company is quietly cleaning up.


That company is Sigma Visual Technologies, one company that makes the software that these social networking sites are using to scrape their users’ Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, and AOL address books.

Sigma Visual Technologies – SVT for short – boasts that it can sell you importing scripts for “Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, Orkut, Microsoft Outlook, MSN, Multiply, Plaxo, Photobucket, Bigpond, MySpace, and Freemail.hu” with “others coming soon.”

The site is rife with typos and misspelling, and poor grammar, but that apparently hasn’t stopped companies from buying the software, and scraping (the s and c are silent) their users’ address books.

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Says the Sigma Visual site, “This product of Sigma Visual Technologies offers it’s customers a opportunity to import contact list from any Email Service Provider including Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, Orkut, Microsoft Outlook, MSN, Multiply, Plaxo, Photobucket, Bigpond, myspace, Freemail.hu etc.

If you want AddressBook Importer for the above mentioned services in (php, asp and jsp) then you can simply order us at sales@sigmavisual.com

If you want us to develop such script for some other Email Service Provider then you can order us so that we can develop it for you.Please send your orders to have our quote.

 

Examples of Similar Importers: hi5.com, sms.ac, ringo.com, myspace.com, etc.”

So how much does it cost to buy software to trick all of your users into giving you the keys to their address books at their ISP?

For a mere $50.00, you too can abuse your users’ trust to get their contacts from their address books at Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN and Gmail (yes all four!), and they’ll throw in AOL and their Outlook contacts for just $20.00 more.

Of course, in the end, it’s the users’ job to be diligent, and not fall for these predatory email address book scraping practices, but the sites that use this software make it look so real, so much like you are just logging in to your ISP as you normally do, that you just don’t even realize – or think about – what you’re doing.

And that’s what they are banking on – and nobody more than Sigma Visual Technologies.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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3 thoughts on “The Company Behind All That Address Book Scraping that Flixster, Facebook, and Others are Doing

  1. I was just searching the web on how to implement such a feature to import/email contacts through users’ email accounts and came across your insightful article.

    So I guess that there is no open-source software/free service that could do that?

  2. i’ve got a good friend who owns a half track with a quad .50 mount, can we pay “Sigma Visual Technologies” corporate headquarters a visit?

  3. I really value your newsletter. However, I want to read it – not play a game with your popup solicitation for new subscribers.
    Please consider finding another way to get new subscribers.
    Thanks.

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