Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of spam from users on facebook concerning this “social networking site”, Yuwie. The spam and the Yuwie site its self promises a cut in advertising revenue for all users who sign up. The problem though is two fold. Firstly, people are trying to solicit sign ups using spam which I hate. Secondly, its a complete and utter scam.

While it might be true that some users are being paid by Yuwie, what the site is banking on is that users who sign up don’t read the terms and conditions and such. If an individual contemplating sign up was diligent enough to read these texts its unlikely they would go near the site. The crux of it is what every user who signs up permits Yuwie to sell their details to anyone and everyone, this is effectively what Yuwie are paying you for the privilege of doing. This can be bad enough when you just provide your name and e-mail (think of the SPAM and the e-mail marketing hell) but with Yuwie you are providing all the details that you would to any other social networking site.

This includes but is not limited to, name, address, telephone number, mobile number, e-mail address, photos, friends names and e-mails, messages and personal preferences on subjects such as music, film and their personal life. Pretty shocking huh.

On first inspection of the terms and conditions you might think that what I have just said is untrue, but look carefully at the following extract:

Yuwie will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary: (1) to conform to legal requirements or to respond to a subpoena, search warrant or other legal process received by Yuwie.com, whether or not a response is required by applicable law; (2) to enforce the Yuwie.com Terms of Use Agreement or to protect our rights; or (3) to protect the safety of members of the public and users of the service

The first sentence is fishy from the off. Necessary disclosure is usually that as required by law, but note that the statement is not if the law dictates it is necessary but that if “we believe” it is necessary. This could in fact be any reason they so choose.

Reading further on looks like they’ve made it alright again by giving some numbered points, but note the caveat on point 1). Essentially they are saying they will always cough up details to law enforcement on the slightest whim, even if there is no actual legal requirement to do so.

Point 2) includes “protecting our rights”, making no indication as to what those rights are. That could be a right to make money for instance thus justifying the sale of your details.

Point 3) is probably the most reasonable one they have, and yet it still has holes in it as it makes no reference to what they might be protecting people from, and besides it is difficult to protect users by providing their details to others whom the users have not consented to their details being given.

Bottom line is, as I said at the beginning, this site is generating huge amounts of spam on social networking sites and in the blogosphere generally and as such is deplorable. Further more it is a complete privacy scam aimed at the personal details of all those who sign up. I don’t believe any of my readers would even contemplate signing up, but I do think they would appreciate being shown how devious companies are being these days with data provided by users. Data security and privacy can only get worse so long as companies like Yuwie continue unchecked.



  1. Paul Crowe Said,

    February 20, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

    Ok your totally off the mark here.
    Yuwie gives the same info as any other social network.
    No address phone numbers or emails are given to any one.
    Ive been on Yuwie 6 months and love the site and none of this info has been shared with anyone (Im not posting this looking for sign ups or including a referral url)
    All social networks make their money from target advertisng.Showing you ads according to your interests stated on your profile.
    Why do you think Microsoft paid so much for such a small share of facebook?
    Facebook are the most guilty of this.
    It is in fact you that didn’t get your facts straight before posting this I’m afraid.
    Look again Kieran,myspace and Facebook T.O.S. say they reserve the right to charge people that doesnt mean they are going to.

  2. Kieran Said,

    February 20, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

    Thanks for your comment Paul, I was wondering when someone was going to reply to this one.

    Unfortunately I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I wasn’t saying Yuwie are *currently* giving out personal info to third parties, just that their terms and conditions give them the right to at a later date should they wish to do so.

    You will also note also that I didn’t say that other social networking sites don’t have such terms in their T&Cs, but because I was talking about Yuwie in the post I focused on their terms and conditions. Perhaps this was a mistake and if it was misleading, I apologise.

    Your points do highlight something important about my article though; I think the most important part of my post, which actually was quite a small portion and with hindsight shouldn’t have been, is the spam that the site has generated.

    For this reason I will write here, what with hindsight, I think I wanted to say in the first place.

    A worryingly large proportion of spam blog comments, forum posts and other such items I have to deal with everyday are Yuwie users attempting to get their share of the money Yuwie are making.

    If I got paid the same rate for time spent removing such spam from sites I run and own as I do developing software I’d be a rich man.

    Instead I’m spending time removing Yuwie spam that I could be spending developing software and so am actually losing money.

    Do you think if I sent Yuwie a bill for all the spam comments I have had to spend time deleting they would cough up and ensure the users responsible for posting said content were banned from the site? I very much doubt it.

    Of course I’m sure that you are a responsible user of the site and don’t post spam. In fact I know you are because if you weren’t you would have posted a referral link in your comment or in the URL field, I would have reported the post as spam to Akismet and I thusly wouldn’t have written you a response 😉

    Still the fact remains that a huge number of Yuwie users are not that responsible and Yuwie is not taking action against these users. For that reason Yuwie is a pest on the web that causes misery to many in the name of profits for the few.

    When a company behaves this way with regard to the way its users spam other sites, how much less would you trust that company to protect your details?

    My view is that even if other social networking sites do have the same terms and conditions about your details as Yuwie, I’m going to place more trust in the company who’s actions don’t result in a deluge of spam on the web than one who’s actions do.

    With respect to the need for advertising revenue, you are absolutely correct, then again I never criticised this in my post.

    Finally, concerning your comment about charging, I see your point, but the other side of that coin asks the question; if they never intend to charge why should they give themselves the legally binding right to do so?

    That same argument was the one I used for Yuwie concerning details disclosure. If they never intend to disclose your details to third parties except when required to under law, why not just say that instead of giving themselves rights they never intend to use?

  3. Vicki Said,

    March 7, 2008 @ 6:07 pm

    Yuwie’s disclosure policies are no different than anyone else’s. The information they may release to “third parties” speaks to authorities, in the case of subpoena, or to protect members from predators. Would you want them to protect the anonymity of a sexual predator? I wouldn’t!

    Ad for them being a scam, they are certainly not. I have been a member since its first month, and can validate everything they claim is true. That is not to say everything members post is true. There are scammers and spammers in any opportunity. Some members claim they make hundreds, even thousands their first month. NOT true. But that is not Yuwie doing the scamming. You can not fault the company for what a few unscrupulous members do.

  4. Kieran Said,

    March 11, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    You cannot get away from the fact that without Yuwie and other sites that offer financial rewards for sign ups we would have less spam in blog posts and forums.

    You can argue that this isn’t Yuwie’s fault, but it becomes Yuwie’s fault when I report such members for spamming to Yuwie and they continue to be allowed an account (not one account I have reported for spamming has been deleted). This fact indicates to me that spamming is precisely what Yuwie wants its members to do, after all it can deny responsibility and still get publicity.

    In terms of spam prevention I have taken to reporting users to their ISP rather than just Yuwie. Like Yuwie though, I doubt this will lead to many connections being disconnected.

  5. Jaime Allen Said,

    March 15, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

    Facebook TOS:

    Facebook may use information in your profile without identifying you as an individual to third parties. We do this for purposes such as aggregating how many people in a network like a band or movie and personalizing advertisements and promotions so that we can provide you Facebook. We believe this benefits you. You can know more about the world around you and, where there are advertisements, they’re more likely to be interesting to you. For example, if you put a favorite movie in your profile, we might serve you an advertisement highlighting a screening of a similar one in your town. But we don’t tell the movie company who you are.

    We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services, Facebook Platform developers and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile. Where such information is used, we generally allow you to specify in your privacy settings that you do not want this to be done or to take other actions that limit the connection of this information to your profile (e.g., removing photo tag links).

    Also Facebook PROMOTES SPAM by adding applications that REQUIRE to invite 20 friends.

    So please the WHOLE FACEBOOK INTERFACE has turned into a marketing frenzy.
    Unfortunately ALL facebook members are not aware that Microsoft now bought 15% of facebook and they will use those e-mails to tarket advertising.

    # If you, your friends, or members of your network use any third-party applications developed using the Facebook Platform (“Platform Applications”), those Platform Applications may access and share certain information about you with others in accordance with your privacy settings. You may opt-out of any sharing of certain or all information through Platform Applications on the Privacy Settings page. In addition, third party developers who have created and operate Platform Applications (“Platform Developers”), may also have access to your personal information (excluding your contact information) if you permit Platform Applications to access your data. Before allowing any Platform Developer to make any Platform Application available to you, Facebook requires the Platform Developer to enter into an agreement which, among other things, requires them to respect your privacy settings and strictly limits their collection, use, and storage of your information. However, while we have undertaken contractual and technical steps to restrict possible misuse of such information by such Platform Developers, we of course cannot and do not guarantee that all Platform Developers will abide by such agreements. Please note that Facebook does not screen or approve Platform Developers and cannot control how such Platform Developers use any personal information that they may obtain in connection with Platform Applications. In addition, Platform Developers may require you to sign up to their own terms of service, privacy policies or other policies, which may give them additional rights or impose additional obligations on you, so please make sure to review these terms and policies carefully before using any Platform Application. You can report any suspected misuse of information through the Facebook Platform and we will investigate any such claim and take appropriate action against the Platform Developer up to and including terminating their participation in the Facebook Platform and/or other formal legal action.
    # We occasionally provide demonstration accounts that allow non-users a glimpse into the Facebook world. Such accounts have only limited capabilities (e.g., messaging is disabled) and passwords are changed regularly to limit possible misuse.

    LOL we need to opt out, I did how many people have done it?

    Hope you enjoy facebook!

  6. Dr. Wesley of Yuwie Said,

    March 16, 2008 @ 12:03 am

    Really the only thing you’re right about is that Yuwie members are guilty of spamming, however…it’s a very small percentage. I personally know who the guys are that are spamming because I’m on facebook a lot myself, and it may surprise you that it’s only a small group of individuals. about .01 percent of the members of yuwie spam their referral links on facebook…and that’s not yuwie’s fault. You’re always going to have morons man, no matter what program, especially if money is involved.

    Ok…now we have some issues of straight out SLANDER here. You’re are wrongfully accusing Yuwie of being a “scam” You can join yuwie and make money on it. You might not make 10,000 a month like Yuwie claims is possible, but it’s not too difficult to reach the minimum payout of 25 dollars every month. I have currently made over 58 dollars on yuwie, so I know it’s not a scam! Plus..even if yuwie didn’t pay…it’s still a kick ass social site, bro, and by the way…ALL of your attacks against the Yuwie TOS is off the mark. Have you read Facebook’s TOS? Or how about Myspace’s? You need to do your home work before you slander a decent site.

    Notice that Myspace also has the right to charge it’s members, but Myspace has been around for YEARS! and they still aren’t charging! What makes you think Yuwie will charge? How dumb would that be? Once you have to pay for an income opportunity that really gets the scam talk going! If yuwie started charging it’s members…here is what would happen. First of all all the members on yuwie that don’t make a significant income from the site, about 99 percent actually, will delete their accounts and go back to facebook or myspace! Also…all future would be joiners of yuwie will take 1 look at the site and say “that’s a scam” and they’ll be right! Then…members that are making money…will have to pay money to continue making it??? that certainly doesn’t make sense!

    Yuwie will always be free, it is a great social site, and it isn’t a scam and anyone can make money on yuwie if they put their mind to it.

    take care,
    -Dr. Wesley
    [peacefulliver8@yahoo.com contact me here if you wish, it’s my secondary e-mail]

  7. Kieran Said,

    March 16, 2008 @ 10:24 pm

    Ok, fine Yuwie is not a scam. You’ve all been paid, great. I’ve been spammed, not so great.

    Yeah, facebook applications are crap and cause spam. I don’t like them.

RSS feed for comments on this post