Tuesday, September 13, 2005

[UPDATE] Targeting Bloggers: Who is Citadel Consulting Group LLC?

Last month, I did a post here and a diary at Daily Kos seeking information regarding this company:
Who is Citadel Consulting Group LLC and what are they up to and why are they targeting bloggers?
I was more than a little surprised to suddenly receive my first unsolicited marketing email at my blog email address. This email was also sent in a manner to bypass spam filters. I became immediately suspicious reading the rest of the email when I saw the request for name, address and regular email. Now, I normally ignore and delete unsolicited spam received via email, but as this was the first I received via my blog address and was being targeted to bloggers I decided to investigate further. Unfortunately, I have been unable to turn up much information and I am posting this seeking further information, to discuss this with anyone else that has received this email and to find out if anyone besides members of Blogger have received it.

The general consensus from others who received the unsolicited email was that it was an annoying, but benign marketing spam for this company’s new magazine West Coast Midnight Run. I did not reply to their email solicitation and forgot about them. However, I now find them more than annoying and not at all benign. I received the following two emails last night supposedly from the editorial staff of the magazine (editor@midnighttracks.com ).
Subject: From the Editorial Desk of the West Coast Midnight Run

We noticed some of your concerns have been voiced loudly over the West Coast Midnight Run. Please rest assured we are not being neglectful. We are simply understaffed, overbudget and behind on our deadline as we retool the lineup of our segments.

The West Coast Midnight Run is being offered for free the first year only to those subscribers who request our electronic publication. We intend to bring together some of the concepts found in National Geographic, Variety, Consumer Reports, Penthouse and the Harvard Business Review, except the only nude models we will use will be hot automotive creations from Europe, Japan and Detroit.

The reason we request a regular email address is because many subscribers may use a temporary email which may get deleted afterwards and since we are not a multi-million dollar corporation we do not dispose of large automated systems that would allow us to re-subscribe you each time you delete your convenience email. We also request your mailing address since we want to make sure we are getting one request per household. Each subscriber's email is entered into our monthly random sweepstakes drawings, one valid confirmed entry is used per individual and the address is needed to confirm and to mail the entrant their prize should they be the winner.

Please do take a look at the entire teaser website, but please bear in mind some of the sample segments are now outdated.

We do hope this comment helped to clear up the mystery regarding our periodical and please bear with us as we struggle to make it to the publication finish line of our first issue.

Thank you for your interest and we look forward to welcoming you as part of our family.

The Editorial Staff

You are receiving this information because you have contacted us. If you have received this message in error we do apologize and request that you inform us so as to remove you from our contacts database. The information and files attached have been scanned apriori and have been found to be free from defects or viruses. The information in this email is confidential and intended solely for the addressee. Access to this email by anyone else is unauthorized and any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete this email and destroy any copies or prints thereof and notify the sender immediately.
NOTE: I have never contacted this company. I am posting the entire contents of their email for full disclosure. This "confidential" information was posted by their ediotrial staff at another blog, Blast Radius, as a comment to his post last month seeking information about this company, Following the tracks, which I referenced in my original post.
Subject: Copyrights Violations

You may want to re-consider grabbing photos from any website and posting them without express written permission of the original author. Some of the content we publish is through a licensing agreement provided to us only from the original authors' publishers and by copying and reposting content without express authorization you are violating the copyrights of the original author, their publishers and distributors.

We always warn our readers not to photocopy, redistribute, download or distribute in any fashion any of our content. We would greatly appreciate it if you would let your readers know.

With regards,

The Editorial Staff

I was annoyed by the first unsolicited commercial email I received from this company last month. The second unsolicited email falsely stating that I had contacted them and was now in their database made me more than annoyed. The third email regarding copyright violations and suggesting I downloaded material from their website was too much and I have decided to take action. I sent their editorial staff the following reply.
RE: Copyrights Violations

You may want to re-consider grabbing electronic mail addresses through address harvesting from the proprietary online service of Blogger (www.blogger.com).
You may want to re-consider using electronic mail addresses thus acquired to for the transmission of unsolicited commercial electronic mail via the Internet.
You may want to re-consider using deceptive subject headings in your unsolicited commercial electronic mail messages.
You may want to re-consider including an identifier, opt-out, and physical address in your unsolicited commercial electronic mail messages.
You may want to re-consider sending me any further unsolicited commercial electronic mail messages with this demand to cease and desist further transmissions.
You may want to re-consider your violations of federal law, CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003, sections 5(a)(2), 5(a)(5)(i), 5(a)(5)(ii) 5(a)(5)(iii) and 5(b)(1)(i).

Now I will discuss your concerns of copyright violations. I have not grabbed and photos from your website. I have posted a copy of your original unsolicited commercial electronic message as a diary and blog posting. You may read the posting entitled, "Targetting Bloggers: Who is Citadel Consulting Group LLC?" at http://disgustedinstlouis.blogspot.com/2005/08/targeting-bloggers-who-is-citadel.html and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/8/26/124748/192. This was done in pursuit of information about your company from other recepients of your unsolcited commercial electronic message.

I do not believe you wish to attempt to pursue a copyright violation for the posting of your unsolicited commercial electronic message that you transmitted to my electronic mail address, which was acquired by address harvesting from Blogger. However, if you think it is advantageous for you to pursue a copyright violation for posting your unsolicited commercial electronic message be sure to inform you legal representation that the material was acquired though your illegal method of distribution.

I sincerely hope to receive no further unsolicited electronic messages from you again, commercial or otherwise.

I welcome comments and suggestions from others that have either been spammed or threatened by this company.


Blogger youngonechic said...

Hey Disgusted dearie I never heard of this rag until you started whining about it. Thanks though. I checked them out and not sure what the shit is all the noise about. I actually read their publication but not sure if you have. They're actually kinda cool, specially dig the pizza segment, had me laughing off the floor. Kisses, we luv ya even if you're off the mark every so often, so keep posting, some of us are actually reading your stuff.

4:57 PM, February 16, 2006  

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