Note to recruiters

Hi,

You’ve been sent this page because I’ve sent similar e-mails a number of times and wanted you to better understand my reasoning.

You’ve e-mailed an e-mail address that I only use to communicate with high school friends of mine. I signed up for that e-mail address in high school and that’s the only group of people I send e-mails to. That e-mail address has never shown up on my resume, in conjunction with a job search, or actually on any public forum. I use a separate e-mail address for any/all recruiter or job-search related conversations, which if you had bothered to literally do any research on me at all, you would have found at the top of my resume which is on this website and elsewhere. If you get the sense I’m frustrated, it’s because I am.

I know what you’re thinking: “but I did do research! I saw your LinkedIn history and I (or someone else) used _____ tool to find your e-mail address and that’s even better than just sending you a LinkedIn message.” Except it’s not, because you’ve sent me spam. Reminder that spam is any commercial e-mail (and yes, job searches are “commercial” in nature — you’re probably getting paid for it and with any luck I would be getting paid at a job as well) that doesn’t contain an unsubscribe link.

As of you landing on this page, consider this my notice that I’m also issuing you a CCPA request, which states that I have:

I know you used a tool which sold you some bit of personal information because it’s never appeared anywhere in a public forum or in relation to a job search. That tool never asked for my permission and by using you as a mechanism for indirection and as mentioned above, it’s not information that was public or that I want to use with anything other than my high school friends.

Please respond with the information I need to try to remove myself, including which tool specifically was used.

Most of these tools will argue that they adhere to all laws, but we’ve already established that they got you to send spam, so hopefully we can agree that most of them are dodgy at best. Also, e-mail harvesting is also illegal in the US so the basis of their operations is illegal. Also, you should also know that I’ve already attempted to remove my information from all of the following “services,” most of them multiple times because they “somehow lost” my request after they confirm the first time that they had removed my information:

  • ContactOut
  • Lusha
  • Hiretual
  • Entelo
  • ZoomInfo
  • Connectifier
  • EmailHunter
  • FindThatLead
  • Discoverly
  • TalentBin
  • Prophet
  • Snov
  • Interseller
  • Pipl
  • People Data Labs (PDL)
  • Resource.io
  • Adapt.io

And others — I don’t keep this list up to date, as there are so many, but if you’re using one of these and you got my information from them, consider this your confirmation that they do not adhere to the CCPA law either.

These companies will also argue that they got the e-mail address you used via some legitimate means in public, but it frankly cannot be true because, as I mentioned, the only time I’ve ever used this e-mail address is to communicate with high school friends. So how did this e-mail address ever get associated with these services? I’ve managed to trace that down with 1 of these companies: they used hacked databases.

In 2012-2013, LinkedIn started slurping up its members’ contacts and e-mailing them. There was later a class action suit against LinkedIn for this. Subsequently, in 2012, LinkedIn was hacked and those e-mail addresses/contact information were dumped to the dark web. It’s not quite clear what series of sales/resales that data went through, but eventually it ended up in People Data Labs (PDL), which then combined that information with other information they had gathered through some unknown means (I contacted PDL and they were “unable to share” where they got my information). Unfortunately, PDL was also hacked in 2019 and all contact information was dumped again there. Verifications.io also had a data leak in 2019, dumping over 800 million e-mail addresses, apparently at least partially originating from the 2012 LinkedIn dump. Now, companies like the ones I’ve tried to remove myself from above are just buying/selling/reselling/importing hacked information information like this and there’s just no way to stop it, because while they may even believe they acquired the e-mail address from some legitimate means (though many know that they have not), they’re all keying off of 2012 data and prior.

That’s why you have an e-mail address that I used in high school.

I know many recruiters use one of these services, and are incentivized to do so and may want to turn a blind eye to all of this information because “it gets results.” But I’m applying negative incentives: I refuse to work with any recruiter that uses one of these tools, so if you’re on this page because I sent it to you, consider this my notification that I will not work with you or your firm ever again. I honestly don’t care if that restricts the number of recruiters down to a tiny fraction or even if that number is 0. Any person or company that values results over ethics is frankly just someone that I wouldn’t allow myself to work with.