Warning: Your friends may be idiots.

At some point in the next few days you will get an email "invite" on behalf of some complete moron who happens to have your email address in their contact list ...

At some point in the next few days you will get an email "invite" on behalf of some complete moron who happens to have your email address in their contact list. The invite will be regarding a web site called "TenSpot.com" and what the complete moron in question is trying to do is get something for nothing which, as all of us who are not morons know, never happens. Ever. What the complete moron is really doing is (a) signing away their own legal rights not to be called by telemarketers by (according to the Tenspot.com Terms of Service that no moron ever reads) entering into a "business relationship" with the "partners and clients" of TenSpot.com. The telemarketing protection laws in the States (now) and Canada (later this year) both have a little panacea to business that allows companies and their "designated partners and cooperative entities" to call you willy-nilly if you contact them first. The logic here being that by giving a company your contact info, either purposefully or as a side effect of some other innocuous activity such as signing up for a completely transparent contest, you are making a tacit agreement to continue that contact in the future.

You would think that being asked for a phone number as a part of signing up would be enough of a warning bell for most people, but you would be wrong. The creeps at TenSpot already have hundreds of thousands of signups from the greedy and gullible. Not surprisingly, after one month of operation their current list of "partner" companies is already hundreds of companies long, and includes virtually every contract telemarketer and call centre in North America.

TenSpot's FAQ should actually read like this:

Q: Is TenSpot really giving away $1000 bucks a week?
A: Sure! Why not? Their corporate prospectus claims that contracted "maintenance fees" from its "partners" already amount to over $35 million. $1000 bucks a week? Big deal!

Q: Will TenSpot really give away $10,000,000?
A: Doubtful - they can change the Terms of Service at anytime, without warning or notification. Or, as is more likely since it is legally fool-proof, they can always conveniently go out of business just before October 2005, which will deep-six the "sweepstakes" but leave the "business agreement" with TenSpot's partners and clients intact.

Q: Why do you need my address and phone number?
A: So they can sell you out to the telemarketers, dumbass.

Q: Why must I be a United States or Canadian resident to register?
A: Because those are the only countries that have telemarketing protection laws either in place or on the way. Their "partners" wouldn't be willing to pay for phone numbers that they can already legally call.

Q: Does it cost anything to join TenSpot?
A: Nothing except your legal rights now and in perpetuity.

As a final aside ... yes, TenSpot is also selling email addresses of their suckers and dupes to spammers- as well as the addresses of the "friends" that said suckers and dupes are trying to sign up. There is not as much money in that as there is in the phone numbers, but these guys don't miss a trick. If you get an email from a "friend" asking you to sign up, then that "friend" has already sold you out to the spam lords.

CAVEAT 1: If you don't know anyone who is a moron, you will not get any of these emails.

CAVEAT 2: The sheer number or morons in the world leads to an obvious extrapolation of Caveat 1 - you will probably get at least FIVE of these emails. Don't say nobody warned you.

Posted: Thu - January 13, 2005 at 12:02 AM