That wonderful Indian portal we all love, Indiatimes.com,
affectionately known as Indiaslimes (and various other names), has clearly taken some lessons in usability
from the mistakes of other mail services like Yahoo and Hotmail. Hotmail and
Yahoo, as part of their registration process, offer you several pages of
newsletters and information services that can very quickly fill your inbox with
unwanted junk mail. This extra step is of course an annoyance to new users.
Therefore, Indiatimes has decided to make the sign-up process simpler. It
does not ask whether you want to sign up for any newsletters. Instead, it
decides by itself that you like spam and happily fills up your inbox for you.
For instance, I had to sign up for an Indiaslimes account to read some crap
on their site some time back. I never intended to use their email because I
don’t need yet another email address. However, curiosity about their much-touted
APIC (which deserves another blog entry of its own) led me to log in to my
never-used account and see what the fuss was about. Bear in mind that I have never
given this email address to anyone or used it for any other purpose.
After logging in, this is what greets me:
Wow, so many "special offers" and all of them from
Indiatimes. I really appreciate their concern for me getting the best
deal for my money.
No, no, no, this isn’t "spam" at all. Most spam messages include
some cheesy way of getting yourself off their "subscription" list.
Indiatimes, to prove that it doesn’t spam, dispenses with that completely.
Here’s what one of the messages looked like:
See? Not a single "get me off this fucking list" link anywhere.
Saves them the trouble of even programming the feature. That’s efficiency!
When I saw this, I wondered, "was there some fine print in the sign-up
screen that subscribed me to so many damn mails?" To be sure of that, I
created a new account. Like I said earlier, the sign-up process is only one
screen. And this is the screenshot of it. Do you see a "spam me
liberally" checkbox anywhere?
and this is the next screen:
Indiaslimes is fond of another method of spamming. All you have to do is give
Indiaslimes your email address for anything. (For instance, if you give
your real email address for posting an ad on their classifieds site.) The next
day, you will start getting discount coupons, "special offers", etc.
from their e-commerce group. To make it harder for you to unsubscribe, they are
all on different mailing lists so you have to remove yourself separately
from each one.
Indiatimes.com – India’s #1 spammer. Richly deserving the title of IndiaSlimes.
PS: if you need an Indiatimes ID, I have created one dummy account for you.