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Within seconds of using Pingdom I got email spam


tl;dr - I do a web speed test on this site, get spam from a firm that does website speed consulting, I rant a little bit about it, then share a little bit about a startup idea I had at the end. I’ll be back to regular “exploring Kubernetes” related posts tomorrow!

So this just happened (<5 minutes ago), but within seconds of heading over to Pingdom’s Speed test (I was really trying to test Piwik tracking on this blog), I got an email from some firm called SpeedUpgency that I’ve never heard of:

Speed upgency email

Has anyone else noticed this? It was pretty annoying to have this happen, and though it’s a minor annoyance (there are lots of other things to be annoyed about if you’re looking), my brain instantly raced to where my email could have been discovered from.

  1. Did Pingdom sell the fact that I just did a site speed test to 3rd parties in realtime so fast that they scraped my site, got the first email address with my domain on it and emailed me this quickly?
  2. Did some man in the middle get lucky enough to snoop my requeqst to Pingdom (I went back and checked, and it’s HTTPS so this is unlikely)
  3. Was it just amazing timing from a site trying to promote itself that happens to have already scraped my website for email addresses?
  4. ???

#1 seems more likey than #2, and I’m going to go ahead and never use Pingdom again (though I was impressed with their site). Nothing personal against Pingdom, they’ve gotta make money somehow (and this is assuming #1 is true, it probably isn’t), but I definitely didn’t appreciate receiving spam within seconds of using their site. Maybe it’s a coincidence.

I hope #1 isn’t true, but if it is it makes me a little sad – the larger note here woul be that this is just what the internet is now, a fish-in-a-barrel playground for advertisers and marketers (nothing against them, you have to find out about awesome products somehow). At what point is it “startup marketing hustle” and at what point is it “shady SEO”? SpeedUpgency’s initiative here (however they’ve done it) isn’t bad, and the annoyance is minor, but it definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe I’m just frustrated with myself that I was stupid enough to predict this happening.

I also wonder if there’s an element of hypocrisy here – I recently (today) installed tracking with piwik just to get an idea of how many people visit this blog and from where, am I part of this problem? Should I have picked pixel tracking instead of JS tracking?

For a while now, I’ve been playing around with the idea (in my head) of an ad network that let you choose which ads you wanted to receive (give it your age, preferences, sites you visit, whatever) – bridging the gap for people who don’t want ads but do want to support sites they enjoy and can’t/won’t donate directly. On top of that, the network could also keep you in close-to-complete control of your personal data (well as much as an entity can promise that) - so if you don’t want to be targeted by your age, you can wipe it from the service and the ad targeting software will adjust accordingly. This event made wonder if I should work on that idea sooner rather than later.

Either way, next post I’ll be back to the regular proramming (which is currently “exploring Kubernetes”), just wanted to get this small rant out of my system somehow.