Friday, December 22, 2006

Lavasoft Gave My Email Address to a Marketing Company

Do you subscribe to Lavasoft updates? Did you also receive a sales letter today, reportedly from the The subject is "Gift the Gift of Ad-Aware SE". Take a closer look at that email. What caught my attention was at the bottom of the email:

This message was intended for: corrine@xxx
You were added to the system November 7, 2006. For more information
click here.
Update your preferences | Unsubscribe

If you can read the light, small font, note the date above. The notice indicates I was added to the system on November 7, 2006. I have been subscribed to the receive the updates for several years. I did NOT sign up on November 7, 2006.

Then I checked the full header:
Received: from (

by with ESMTP; 22 Dec 2006 13:29:01 -0600
Message-Id: <53vtd9$>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 10:59:45 -0800
From: "Lavasoft"

That prompted me to take a closer look at the actual email. Below the sales pitch for Ad-Aware SE Plus, Pro and Enterprise are a few sentences included in the image. The font is rather small and the image is fuzzy.

The first two sentences read:
"Make sure our emails end up in your inbox, not your bulk or junk folders. Simply add to your email address book or trusted-sender list.

"You have received this message because you have registered to get information about Lavasoft and its products."
I am supposed to trust a third-party marketing company masquerading as

Further down in the small print is a link to the Lavasoft Privacy Policy. There are two sections in the Privacy Policy that refer to personally identifiable information, although neither refers to sales pitches. The first applies to purchases from the website:
"2. Contractual Obligation

If you make a purchase from the website, you will be asked to provide your name, billing address, e-mail and credit card information (if you have chosen credit card as payment method). Lavasoft AB will use such information only for processing your order and to send important product specific information such as a receipt, invoice, or license key.

The information you provide will not be used for any other commercial purposes and will not be sold, rented, leased or otherwise forwarded to any third party with the exception of our subcontractor Element 5, who will process your orders and distribute the goods or services that you have requested."

The only other part of the Privacy Policy that could be construed as close is "Information Sharing":
"5. Information Sharing

We do not rent or sell your personally identifiable information to other companies or individuals, unless we have your consent. We may share such information in any of the following limited circumstances:

  • We have your consent.
  • We provide such information to trusted businesses or persons for the sole purpose of processing personally identifying information on our behalf. When this is done, it is subject to agreements that oblige those parties to process such information only on our instructions and in compliance with this Privacy Policy and appropriate confidentiality and security measures.

We may share aggregated information with others. Examples of this include the number of users who downloaded a specific product or how many users clicked on a particular advertisement."

{emphasis added}

I certainly did not give my consent to Lavasoft to give a third party marketing company my email address. Nor was the email for the purpose of processing personally identifying information on Lavasoft's behalf.

Did I unsubscribe? You bet I did. The text from the acknowledgement is transcribed below the image:

Thank you. This e-mail address will be opted out from all marketing e-mail subscriptions within 48 hours. In the interim, you may continue to receive e-mail marketing to which you originally subscribed. If you wish to resume e-mail communications in the future, please click on the subscribe button on the homepage of our site. {Emphasis added}
Marketing e-mail subscriptions? So much for a company that touts privacy.

Update 23Dec06:

In response to the thread at Broadband Reports and Lavasoft, LS-Michael, a Lavasoft employee, replied:
"You can be assured that your e-mails have not been 'turned over' to a 3rd party marketing firm to do with as they please. BlueHornet is simply the mailing engine required to send our monthly newsletter out to the nearly 1 million people on the mailing list now. Lavasoft owns the list and will always own the list, thus the sender as (the same e-mail that is published for our newsletter)."
Since I prefer that an "eMarketing Suite" (as BlueHornet describes their service) not have my e-mail address, I'll forgo any further mailings from Lavasoft.


Derek said...

OMFG a retailer did exactly the same thing to me!

A parcel turned up but it wasn't the retailers truck that delivered it, it was some company called "FedEx".

What is FedEx doing with my address. Did I give the retailer permission to give FedEx my address? No, I sure didn't.

I'll forgo future deliveries from that retailer!

Corrine said...

Hi, Derek. Thank you for your comment.

Your example doesn't fit this situation. The retailer does not provide FedX with the details for delivery, the purchaser does that, including designating the type of shipment, as well as agreeing to pay any associated fees for faster delivery.

Remember, Lavasoft provides/sells software that reportedly includes protecting customer privacy. Yet, the the same company violates its own privacy policy.