I was at a conference this past Friday and became friendly with a number of different folks who use social media tools I had never tried before.
One had posted something onto Facebook using Gowalla – a tool similar to Four Square. I recently started using Four Square and have found it to be quite addicting so I thought I would give Gowalla a shot.
After signing up for the service I was offered to find which of my current friends were already using Gowalla by entering my gmail/password. Big mistake. I just wrote this email to the developers/help of Gowalla and have yet to hear back:
I was thinking about trying a Gowalla account after I saw a friend post from Gowalla onto Facebook. I signed up for an account and without my authorization, Gowalla SPAMMED my entire gmail address book with a message “I’m putting together a collection of photos where I’ve been. Check it out.” I cannot tell you how much this infuriates me.
I was simply following the instructions to see which of my contacts already had an account and without my OK, my 200-300+ contacts were spammed. This is a horrible business practice. I know you are a relatively new company trying to get more users, but this is a terrible and sneaky way to do it.
I am going to blog on a few different sites about this and urge anyone thinking about joining Gowalla to forget about it. Whoever programmed that feature into your new members should be fired.
At the very least it should be an opt in to message your contacts. I never write to companies, but this really ticked me off and I want you to know about it.
As you can see I was not happy. If you were thinking about trying this service, I would advise against it.