Is Amazon Sharing Your Email Address With The World?

July 18, 2012

People use Amazon’s tools in different ways. I use wishlists as a place to put gift ideas, either that I would like, or that I would like to buy for my family at a later date.

Last week after I subscribed to Friendfeed I realised that people were sharing their wishlists through the Friendfeed service. Suspicions aroused I went to take a look at Amazon and found my wishlist was also public. It included gifts that I had chosen for my wife and kids birthday presents. Not stuff that you really want them to see.

It’s straightforward enough to go in and make your wishlist private, but perhaps it should be set private by default, or at the very least when you add something to your wishlist you should get a warning to alert you if it is being added to a publicly accessible page.

Not fully trusting Amazon at this point I ran a Google search for “my profile name +amazon” and found there was an About Me page sitting there too. It showed products that I had reviewed, some other details AND MY EMAIL ADDRESS! I do share my email address publicly anyway so it’s not a huge deal for me, but lots of people don’t want their personal email address left sitting on a public page for any old spambot to pickup.

Again, it’s easy enough to make this info disappear, but the point is that it should not be enabled by default. If customers have to spend time and effort to stop retailers from giving their info away they are not going to feel quite so comfortable using that retailer in the future.

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