Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blogger Beware: Do You really Want To Connect Yourself With My Memories Scrapbooking Software?

A couple nights ago, I received an email from a "Liz P. Gardner" asking if I wanted a free copy of My Memories scrapbooking software to both review and give away to a reader.

This sounded like a phishing email to me, so, along with my husband, who has expertise in PC security, I did some research.

The software is owned by a Storyrock Publishing in Utah, and  the publisher does have an excellent rating with the local Better Business Bureau.

Here is what I found, a blog post written by a young, male, college student:

"In Touch with the Feminine Side

I have been working in the technology department at Storyrock Publishing for several months.  In the past, my responsibilities were to prepare products to be sold online for web download.  When I left for school, I planned on doing the same type of work from home.  Because of issues with internet connections, I had to change jobs within the company.  This has allowed me to get in touch with my feminine side!

One of Storyrock's products is called My Memories Suite.  It is digital scrapbooking software.  My new job is to help with the marketing of the product.  The first rule of marketing is to think like your target market, which means I get to think like a mid-30's stay-at-home mom!  I now spend my work hours contacting bloggers under the alias Liz P. Gardner.  We have conversations ranging from photo layouts of scrapbook pages to cute banners and blinkies they can put on their walls.  In the process, I have learned about cooking, homeschooling children, arts and crafts, yoga, and all sorts of other things I never knew moms did.  Who knew you could spend hours making greeting cards or paper shoes for infants!

All of these new experiences have filled me with gratitude that my wife and my mom do not spend their entire days writing about their lives instead of living them!  It has been entertaining to get a glimpse into the life of the modern house wife.  How grateful I am to be a guy!

I wonder how many 21-year-old male readers this blog has!
  Don't forget about the Bewitchin' Kitchen. How do these ladies find the time to do all this?"

I don't know about you, but I find it rather insulting for some young pup to be pretending to be a 30-something SAHM, and publicly insulting  the women whose business he is trying to obtain. Obviously this kid has no idea how difficult and time-consuming it is to care for small children all day, homeschool, and cook. And he obviously has no idea that the moments we take to blog, stolen when children are napping or in bed at night, help fill that need for adult communication.

I do wish to caution my fellow bloggers not to accept every email offering something at face value, but to take the time to research and explore before jumping at a freebie- especially when that freebie is something that requires clicking on an unverified link or piece of software. Malware can be hidden in just about anything. A trojan program could be built into software you download that allows someone to remotely record every keystroke you make, thereby obtaining your passwords, banking information, and credit cards. Just clicking on a link in an email sent to you, my husband warns, can infect your computer.

Bloggers are excellent targets for such malware, as we seem like trusted sources to our readers, and can have a wide audience for exploitation. I caution all of you to carefully do your research before agreeing to a giveaway that has not been initiated by you, as both your family and your readers can suffer as victims of identity theft.

I do want to note, that I am not accusing this publisher of being malware. I haven't seen anything about this software in tech forums, and it is sold on Amazon. One thing to try and verify is if it truly is the legitimate company contacting you and not a spoof. I would do this by finding a contact for the company and checking to see if they truly are marketing with bloggers.

I frequently get requests for giveaways on my blog, but, as you can see, I rarely do them. Most recently, I declined an offer for shoddy children's furniture made of plywood that has garnered poor ratings on the 'Net, and herbs that tout a miraculous cure for infertility.

And no, I will NOT be running a giveaway for Storyrock. I don't take kindly to deceit.


Calista said...

I received the same email from My Memories and started a Google search that lead me to your post. I have contacted the company to check it's validity. Thanks for posting!

Sandy Mastroni said...

I just got THE email .......... thanks SO much for writing about this !

Susan van der Zwaag - Sondeyker said...

I also received that email. I live in the Netherlands and don't even blog about scrapbooking ;). Okay I make collages...
But did my search on the internet too and founf this site. Thanks for sharing.

I'm not going to reply because next to the fact I don't trust it, I wonder what Dutch bloggers could do with it. Sure these days it's easy to buy worldwide via Ebay/Etsy and more. But have to many questionmarks with this email.
Greets from Susan

Blogger said...

Just received a cheque for $500.

Sometimes people don't believe me when I tell them about how much money you can earn by taking paid surveys from home...

So I took a video of myself actually getting paid over $500 for taking paid surveys.