Thursday, November 23, 2006

Goodtree scam exposed, Gmail started marking their emails as spam/phishing

I had previously written about Goodtree scam in this blog.The 'CEO' of Goodtree, James Currier posted a comment saying that they are a legitimate business, and that sites like myspace also use users address books. But he choose to leave one serious question unanswered, why the mails from Goodtree says that " Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are contributing their technology to a new website called GoodTree" when Google, Yahoo and Microsoft has no involvement in Goodtree. James Currier must realise that he might be able to get some money by cheating people, but you cant build a big business by fooling innocent people.

But the real story today is Gmail has started treating Goodtree mails as spam, and they are warning people. See this screenshot, the mails received last month now has the red warning banner from Gmail.

Some people had raised concerns about them in the past, but its sad to see how easily people get fooled. Goodtree never answers why they always use Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's name in their promotional emails. And what technology they use to "NOT" save users Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail passwords "In order for people to access their address books, they need to log in to those address books, so yes, they enter their email and password, but we do not save anyone’s passwords. ". Read Goodtree CEO reply here.

updates
  1. Some employees from Goodtree left their comments here, I will try to counter their arguments
  • "Your post says that "the real story today" is about a Google warning about a GoodTree invitation email. I'm looking at the email and it's from Oct 23rd, the time of your original post. That's not today's story." - Google made sure that even old emails from Goodtree are labeled properly with phishing warning. That is why the mail I got from Goodtree on Oct 23rd got that label when I opened it last week. To make it really clear, when I first got the mail on Oct 23rd that phishing warning was not there.
  • " James *did* address your question of how Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and Ask search results are involved: GoodTree gets its search feed from InfoSpace, a public company in Seattle, which aggregates all those feeds under contract, and then we are under contract with InfoSpace." - No James did NOT answer my question, when you license/use Infospace technology why you use the following words in your email "Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are contributing their technology to a new website called GoodTree that gives money to charity when you use it"
  • " The warning label that appears on the screen shot is a result of the fact that we send out GoodTree invitations from our own SMTP server with the email address of the inviter in the 'from' field. Gmail's servers, using SPF authentication, are smart enough to realize that the 'from' address and the originating mail server probably don't match, and dutifully warns the user."- Sorry to disappoint, Google has started to label any invitation mail *talking* about Goodtree as phishing, if you look carefully at the "from" address of the screenshot of the mail you can see that it was an invitation mail my friend got from Goodtree and because he was suspicious he forwarded it to me and the SMTP server is not of Goodtree's its of asianetindia.com an ISP in India. So its *not* because of the SMTP issue. Secondly sending mail by changing the "from" address is not good business practice, be bold and say that the mail is from Goodtree.
  • "I'd also like to note that if Gmail/Google had somehow "identified" us as scammers, we'd be ending up in your spam box, not your inbox. Please watch the alarmist language."- I get the comments in my blog as email in Gmail, even the comments these Goodtree employees leave has been marked by Gmail with phishing warning!! see the screenshot below
2. If Goodtree really want to do charity (anything for charity is good), they should stop asking users their email passwords, stop sending spam emails.
If Goodtree wants to email someone say that the mail is from Goodtree, don't cheat people by editing the "from" field. Basically what they need to do is do their business ethically. You cannot promote a good cause by spamming people.

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10 comments:

kronos said...

That is bullshit.
You should never give your password to anyother site except the actual one.
Even myspace should stop doing that.
There are many sites which say "Free IPod gimme u r pwd".Everything is just a load of bollocks.

Dr Ortho said...

@kronos
yes its sad, as more nongeeks start to use internet all over the world such scams are getting more and more common.

Dagoberto said...

I work at GoodTree we are not a scam. So many people have embraced GoodTree and all I ask of you is to judge fairly. The title of your posting damns us without anyone reading the article, our comments or our FAQ. Here are two links About Us is here: http://www.goodtree.com/about/about and the FAQ is here: http://www.goodtree.com/about/how.

Your post says that "the real story today" is about a Google warning about a GoodTree invitation email. I'm looking at the email and it's from Oct 23rd, the time of your original post. That's not today's story. When Oliver and I worked in the invitation part of GoodTree we thought we were being 2.0 Asking people to invite through their email like Bebo and Yelp do seemed like a great idea. What can be better than getting an email from a friend to help fight hunger, by using a search engine that uses aggregated results from all the big hitters.

James *did* address your question of how Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and Ask search results are involved: GoodTree gets its search feed from InfoSpace, a public company in Seattle, which aggregates all those feeds under contract, and then we are under contract with InfoSpace. The exact language James used in the blog post you linked to was: As the GoodTree website explains, our results are the combination of Google results, Yahoo results, Microsoft results and Ask.com results. The aggregation of those results and the backend work is done for us by InfoSpace, a public company based in Seattle, WA, USA.

InfoSpace also powers DogPile.com, a search site which also shows on their homepage that they get their search results from those same four companies. We think it's actually important to to tell people where we get our results, especially if it helps people understand we have a quality search, which is our goal.

Also, in James comments he provided a link to the GoodTree FAQ, which details twice how Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask power our search results through a feed coming from InfoSpace. Any suggestions about how to address it more would be helpful to avoid confusion in the future.

We're trying to do a good thing here, and accusatory articles like this are unnecessarily hurtful to us. Could you please at least change the title of your post? We are working hard to make GoodTree transparent so that everyone can see all the good it does and the potential it has to change the world. You damn our name so readily, you don't give us the opportunity to show that we are legit, and here to do good.

Oliver said...

As the other developer of GoodTree, I feel it extremely important to point something out here. Google did not label the letter from GoodTree as a scam, nor does the screen shot you provided indicate such. The warning label that appears on the screen shot is a result of the fact that we send out GoodTree invitations from our own SMTP server with the email address of the inviter in the 'from' field. Gmail's servers, using SPF authentication, are smart enough to realize that the 'from' address and the originating mail server probably don't match, and dutifully warns the user. You are absolutely incorrect that Google has in any way labeled GoodTree as spam, and I assure you that they are more than happy to see us alive and well - in the way of things, they probably make more per click-through than we (or the charities) do.

If I'm wrong, I'll post a video of me eating chinese food. I really don't like chinese food.

Oliver said...

Just to back up my point, I'd also like to note that if Gmail/Google had somehow "identified" us as scammers, we'd be ending up in your spam box, not your inbox. Please watch the alarmist language. It's amazing how difficult it is to do a good thing in this world...

Oliver said...

...*prepares to order chinese food*

Anonymous said...

Dude –if these guys were scam, they wouldn’t be arguing with you and making their points. The fact that they do suggests that they care. Now, you might disagree with what they are trying to do (raising money to charities), or you might disagree with the way they are getting the word out. I think that you are trying to make the later point, but that’s not how you are framing your arguments. Calling good people scam unlikely to be productive. But may be telling them about how they can make their service better will be? You obviously have all of them reading every word by now and they are engaged into conversation with you. That feels like a good chance for you to influence what they are doing if you really care. Because it does look like they are honestly trying to do good thing… while making obvious mistakes you are pointing out to.

Anonymous said...

What concerns me is that GoodTree is run by the guy who ran Tickle.com, which is the company that had all those pop-up ads selling IQ tets.

I searched and found that Tickle.com has an unsatisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau

I also searched for “tickle.com complaints” and “tickle.com fraud” and found pages and pages of complaints. Here are a few:

Complaints.com

ConsumerAffairs.org

... said...

I received an email from my brother-in-law from his company email (who is NOT the kind of person who sends invitations to join websites). I thought it was SO not like him, that I checked it out, and there I was at Goodtree--and they had my first and last night, an account apparently already set up with my gmail account! I wrote to my brother-in-law saying that I would not join a networking site, and that it seemed to have less than "charity" type pictures. He wrote me back and said he knew nothing about it! He reported it to his I.T. person. I can't "unjoin" this Goodtree site, and that really annoys me! Be wary!

Anonymous said...

I have been useing goodtree for a wile now, but not for charity reasons for chatting w/ new ppl from all over the world, because i think they are a bit unclear on how to use there charity thingy. Im not sure if there a scam or not but i really dont care; a made some firends im pretty sure im gonna have for a long time. =]

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