Kurt Seifried

New techniques in spam from the Harvard Business Review (HBR)

No this isn’t about an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), this is actually about spam from the Harvard Business Review. A long time ago I signed up for a year since I got one of those “get the magazine for $19.95 a year” offers and figured why not. I then cancelled at the end since I didn’t find the magazine terribly interesting or forward looking (it seems to mostly reflect an entrenched view of business/law that while useful for existing managers is not terribly education, unlike say the Economist which I still read).

So what’s this new spam technique from the Harvard Business Review? Well they sent me an email, informing me that I had not completed an order at their online store and that my shopping cart still had items in it. This is a pretty clever social engineering technique, they’re prompting you and leading you to believe that you had meant to renew your Harvard Business Review subscription and obviously got distracted or something so you might want to finish the process and send them some money. Except I hadn’t been shopping on their web site (my subscription lapsed a few years ago).

So I went to unsubscribe (who knows, they might actually stop emailing me), but that part of the process was also engineered to make it difficult, first step: make the person enter their email address rather then filling the form (and they know the email address, I mean they just spammed me):

But then the piece de resistance:

Up to 10 days to remove you from a mailing list. What. The. Fuck? So yeah, the moral of the story is use the “spam” button in your mail client and deep six all the crap Harvard Business Review is going to try sending you.