Plaxo.com, the company acquired last week by Comcast for a rumored $160 million, was launched back in 2001. The company faced heavy criticism for aggressive spam techniques which used user contact lists to send out false invites to users. Reunion.com has decided to leverage a similar tactic in hopes of rapidly expanding their user base.
While the tactics have appeared to work (based on Alexa statistics), this strategy is not a long-term solution and is a quick way to lose users faster than you gain them. Take a look at the screenshot below from a search for “Reunion.com” on Summize. The majority of comments are from angry people complaining about how Reunion.com abused users’ trust.
Only one of the users thought it was a genuine email but chose not to respond to it because he prefers to communicate via Facebook and Twitter. Screw using Facebook to spread your website or application virally, you can import peoples’ Gmail contact list and spam the hell out of them! Honestly, this has to be one of the most misleading tactics for a website to leverage.
Following stagnant growth through February it appears that the site decided to take drastic measures. Unfortunately those measures are going to end up backfiring. Reunion.com staff: drop the spam tactics or witness a mass exodus from your site. Then again I’d guess that the exodus has already begun taking place as users move to Facebook.
Have you received these emails? Do you see any benefit of using these tactics?
Sample Email 1
Sample Email 2
Twitter Search Screenshot