Google spamming me in real life

Proof that Google AdSense sells their member mailing listWhen I receive postal mail at the PO box address for my wine club, I know that something is weird — the PO box is only emptied every few days by another one of the (volunteer) board members, and I only see him every couple of weeks, so anything that I want to receive in a timely manner, I provide my own address instead.

One exception that I made was when I signed up for Google AdSense for the club’s website, since I wanted the (few and far-between) cheques to go to the official mailing address for the club. As far as I know, that’s the only time that I’ve ever used that address; no one else would have my name and that address associated.

Imagine my surprise when, at our last board meeting, I was handed an envelope of obvious postal spam addressed to me at the wine club PO box address, advertising a seminar on more effective ways to make money from Google AdSense, among other online revenue sources. This was really smarmy-looking, very reminiscent of real estate seminars, where they trap you in a room for 90 minutes by promising you a meal at the end, and obviously looking to sell some sort of package or consulting as part of the deal.

The thing that really surprised me, however, is that Google — the company that claims to “do no evil” — would sell their AdSense customer database without permission. What’s not evil about that?

Update: A couple of people have linked to this post or my original photo, and reading the comments on their posts is fascinating — some people would much rather believe that an individual (me) is a liar than that a corporation (Google) would divulge name and address information.

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