How are Fonecta’s address lists built?

In the Finnish version of the Why won’t you tell us what email address was spammed article, I surmise that e-pending is largely unknown in Finland.

I stand corrected.

A business associate recently contacted me and let me know that they had been in touch with Fonecta over having all of the business’ email addresses removed from their database. The request was complied with, and they indicated that there had been two: a non-personal role address, and a personal address that indicates the owner’s first name, whereas the person is habitually known (always has been, apparently) by their other given name, has never used the email address firstname.lastname@ for anything, and so on (but you are required to inform the Companies Register of your full name when you set up shop, so it was there).

So, I stand corrected. E-pending appears to exist in Finland, and appears to be practiced by Fonecta, who, or so I hear, take the information in the companies register and turn your firstname.lastname@business.domain into an email address that they will then sell to their customers – never mind that it’s never been given to anyone and doesn’t necessarily even exist.

I wonder what the Data Protection Ombudsman thinks of not just processing (outdated and) erroneous personal information, but deliberately creating it?

13 Responses to How are Fonecta’s address lists built?

  1. I have also noted that there have been many attempts by Finnish spammers to try the probable CEO name + @domain.tld combination. Since April 18th there have been attempts from following mail servers (which got 550 error – no mailbox for CEO name):
    mta148.emaileri.fi[91.233.125.148]
    smtp-69.nebula.fi[83.145.220.69]
    mail.tnnet.fi[217.112.240.26]
    mail.octel.fi[194.111.39.212]

    Probably someone who’s in the business of selling Finnish company register has made a guess that CEO always has an e-mail address in the company domain.

    • I can confirm at least some of Emaileri’s customers are using Fonecta as their address source.

      Nebula is hosting a whole lot of Finnish B2B spammers. It would be surprising if some of those were not using lists from Fonecta.

      Tnnet are aware that at least one of their customers is using a Fonecta-sourced mailing list with bad data to spam.

      Octel doesn’t ring a bell here…

      Maybe CEO always does, but what if it isn’t “firstname.lastname”?

      The old adage holds here:

      When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.

      (And generating erroneous personal information has to be illegal…)

      • Octel rings a bell. It sends mail on behalf of the Finnish Entrepreneurs’ Guild. Now if they sent to members only… but they’re sending to addresses purchased from Fonecta. Bad, baa-a-ad sheep!

  2. The most comical thing about this is that Fonecta is used to be the only party that publishes a document forbidding this practice for free…

    It’s in the “Best Practices for B2B Email Marketing” document published by “Asiakkuusmarkkinointiliitto”, the “customer relations marketing association” (my translation, a poor one, for lack of an official one; www, biz reg). It appears that the document is now also available via the authors for free, this used not to be the case, they wanted to charge for it last time I looked.

  3. Pingback: Don’t do as I do… do as I say: Nebula Oy, graduating from spam support to actually spamming themselves » MainSleaze

  4. Pingback: Fonecta “almost” forced to stop selling crappy B2B email addresses » MainSleaze

  5. It turns out that nothing here should be news. A news article in the daily rag of the Social Democratic Party of Finland, from March 2009, has it in Fonecta’s own words:

    – Osa sähköpostiosoitteista on siis suoraan olemassa ja loput mallinnetaan mallin mukaisesti.

    Translation: “Some of the email addresses exist directly and the rest are modeled according to a format.” In other words, e-pended.

  6. The Data Protection Ombudsman has issued a position paper on this practice in late January 2014. It’s only in Finnish.

  7. Fonecta continues to market its own products and services to its “customer file” containing such made-up personal data as of August 30, 2014. Update: The list also contains addresses that are currently up to date in the Finnish Biz Info System, as well as addresses that the biz owners have already removed from the FBIS years ago. Way to go…

  8. Update The Data Protection Ombudsman has told Fonecta that e-pending is illegal. The actual Swedish in the report that they sent to a complainer is as follows:

    Dataombudsmannens byrå har kontaktat Fonecta Oy och utredat ärendet allmänt. Ombudsmannen har gett allmän rådgivning åt Fonecta Oy och påpekat bland annat att personuppgifter som behandlas skall vara felfria och uppdaterade och vid skaffandet av dem bör tillförlitliga uppgiftskällor användas. Därför bör personuppgiften (så som e-postadresser) inte skapas enbart genom att anta, härleda eller på annat sätt slumpmässigt generera. (Se personuppgiftslagen (523/1999) 5 §, 6 § och 9 §).

    • Fonecta continues unfazed, spamming their bad list through Genisys and hitting fictitious CEO addresses among other outdated and erroneous personal data. The SBL251269 for Genisys’ /27 was quickly removed, but SBL251279 and SBL251280 remain, and indicate that Fonecta is a strong contender for Finland’s #2 ROKSO.

  9. Pingback: Noblemen, Purchased Lists and E-Pending: Intellia, a part of Suomen Asiakastieto Oy » MainSleaze

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