YG Abuse Reporting SNAFU

February 18, 2008

I filed a complaint about Grouply.com TOS violation using the YG Abuse Reporting web page, and this is the reply I got (below).

Note that the reply came from “Yahoo! Groups,” but look closely at the subject line and message body.

**GAMES** indeed!!!

—– Original Message —–
From: “Yahoo! Groups” <groups-abuse@…>
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:59 PM
Subject: Auto Confirmation – Your Yahoo! Games support request was received


This is an automated message regarding your recent request for Yahoo! Games
Customer Care support. Your message was received, and you will hear back
from us within the next 48 hours with an answer.

Thank you for reaching out to us. We look forward to helping you!


Yahoo! Customer Care

Oh, well.

Grouply Subscribers Violate Yahoo! TOS

February 18, 2008
[Posted here by permission of the author.]
Executives, staff and contractors employed by Grouply.com having access to their YG-mirrored archives are not members of any of my groups. 
Grouply is retransmitting content and putting it into the possession of people who are non-members (i.e., Grouply staff), if any one member of my group becomes a Grouply subscriber.
The access connection to my group happens by default when they join Grouply.  If someone in my group joins Grouply, by default Grouply instantly changes their YID primary email address in my group to @ grouply.com and immediately, by default, lists it as a connected group in the Grouply subscriber’s Grouply account and profile, and begins capturing and archiving postings from my group to Grouply.com.By giving Grouply.com their YID passwords, members grant Grouply.com access (and possession of data in their groups’ mirrored archives on Grouply servers) that neither Yahoo! nor I granted as the parties controlling access.  This is where I see a violation of the TOS by the Grouply.com subscriber.

Access (and retransmission to another web site) has been granted to parties who are not members of my groups, at least (if not others) those parties who are employed by Grouply.com and are not members of my group.

Note that the YG Guidelines do not require merely adherence to the “letter of the law” of the TOS.  Yahoo! advisedly reserves the right to terminate the account of any person violating even just the SPIRIT of the TOS and Guidelines.  I quote from the Guidelines page at:

– – – – –
Yahoo! Groups, in its sole discretion, may terminate or remove any content, Group or your Yahoo! ID immediately and without notice if (a) Yahoo! believes that you have acted inconsistently with the *** SPIRIT OR THE LETTER *** of the Yahoo! Terms of Service or the Yahoo! Groups Guidelines, or (b) Yahoo! believes you have violated or tried to violate the rights of others. Please help us keep Yahoo! Groups an enjoyable and positive experience. If you see a Group or content that violates our rules, please let us know by contacting us [hotlinked to
http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/groups/abuse.html ].
– – – – –
[emphasis mine]
But the Grouply subscriber’s violation of the TOS is in both spirit and letter.

The TOS does not say that retransmission to another website is prohibited ONLY IF that other website restricts access to YG members of the same group as the violating member (as GrouplyFans have argued to be permissible under the TOS).  It says in YG Guideline #11 (which is enforced under the TOS): “A Groups owner or moderator (or any other user) cannot re-post or re-transmit Groups content to any other site unless the person has the explicit permission of every group member whose content is being re-posted or re-transmitted.”

That phrase “any other site” is plain and clear.  It does not specify, “unless that site restricts access only to members of the group.”  It simply says “ANY OTHER SITE.”  The only condition under which it says such retransmission is allowable is also very clear: i.e., with “the explicit permission of every group member whose content is being re-posted or re-transmitted.”

Therefore, any Grouply subscriber in my group will be removed for TOS violation.  This is not to say that they are evil, only that they have exceeded the terms and conditions controlling their membership in my group, whether innocently or willfully.

Grouply Troubles Easy as 1-2-3

February 18, 2008

The blog comment writer cited below details three main areas of concern that he says he has not seen Grouply.com executives address adequately.  They are (in paraphrased summary):

1.  Impropriety of using private volunteer group activity archives for profit-making purposes.

2.  Risks of surrendering Yahoo! ID password, and possible liability of those who do it.

3.  Inability of Yahoo! to provide security of group archives that have been mirrored to the Grouply.com system in violation of YG Guideline #11 and TOS.

From the Yahoo! Groups Blog …
February 12, 2008 @ 9:30 pm

[begin snippet]
Regardless of what Grouply executives Rich Reimer and Mark Robins say, here are the concerns about Grouply that I have not seen them address to my satisfaction in any of their dialog in the various groups addressing this topic: …
[end snippet]

Read the rest of the blog comment at:




(just search for the word grouply on this page to find the comments on Grouply.com)

Grouply! is! NOT! a! Yahoo! Service!

February 18, 2008
Someone wrote, “She admits she didn’t read the terms carefully before giving her Yahoo ID and password; she thought it was another Yahoo Service.”
Emphasis on “she thought it was another Yahoo Service.”
Given the way that Grouply.com uses the Yahoo! graphic logo in the sign-up procedure, where they ask you to enter your YID and password, it is not surprising to find that someone might easily misunderstand that Grouply is NOT a Yahoo! service, despite their text disclaimer to that effect.  Any argument to the contrary would seem to not sufficiently take into account the tendencies of innocently naive people.  The presence of the Yahoo! trademark graphic logo on that screen could easily be misleading to many people.  I call for it to be removed.

Feeding Grouply

February 18, 2008

I’m sitting here wondering if there might soon be dozens or hundreds of new “anyone can post without joining” listed and unrestricted (i.e., spam-collector) YG groups (maybe created in Nigeria?) called something like ungrouply1, 2, 3, etc., where people who don’t like Grouply.com, but are Grouply.com registered users, each holding two ungrouply group accounts, one set for Individual Emails with an @ grouply.com address, the other with some other domain but with an auto-responder or auto-forwarder on that second account replying to every posting with a full copy of the original going back to all the ungrouply groups, and they sign their group address up for every kind of spam they can get, or some other even more clever looping-flooding arrangement (I have not thought this through carefully, because I’m not criminally inclined to do something like this), and fire up another ungrouply group (or ten) every day, to keep Grouply.com chasing them around the web with a cyberbroomstick, and so forth.  Surely there’s some unhappy spammer out there thinking about such things.

I seem to recall a few freecyclers unhappy with Finder talking about feeding Finder a very fattening diet.