I’m Being Spammed By “IDG Connect”

I received an odd newsletter e-mail this morning. Odd because it looked like a perfectly legitimate newsletter, but it was from an outfit calling itself IDG Connect and claiming that I’m a “valued customer.” I’d never heard of the company before this, so far as I know, so I did some research.

It’s hard to find much information on them, other than their own website, but I finally discovered two comments on a mostly-unrelated Computerworld blog post. The first says:

I just happened on this blog, Googling to see if anyone else has trouble and/or was entered into the “challenge/response unsubscription loop from hell” while trying to unsub from IDG Connect…a newsletter I never subscribed to.

Well, these things do happen, and it might still be a legitimate mistake. But directly under that comment was this one:

I am unable to unsubscribe to IDG as well – I’ve tried using the option they listed in the email since they appeared to be a legit operation, but the only result is that now I get emails from them every day, not just once in a while.

So much for the theory that they’re legitimate. I’ll start training my spam filter to block their crap.

I’m writing this entry in the hopes that other people looking for information on this company (or trying to find out why they’re being spammed by them) will discover it, since there’s so little easily-accessible information about them.


  1. I got an email from them too, it looks like they’ve managed to get past the spam filters, even google mail’s industrial-strength ones, by looking legit.

  2. Yes, even my ThunderBayes setup said that it was definitely not spam. Oh well, both it and GMail will learn differently very quickly.

  3. thanks: yes, i also tried to unsubscribe from them to no avail. i did as you said and i marked the latest one as spam in thunderbird and in gmail..

  4. Never try to unsubscribe from spam, that confirms to them that someone is receiving the spam in a live email address and you’ll just get more; either from them or from other spammers.

  5. Having once (once!) made that mistake, with another company, I can confirm that. But it’s not that simple in this case. As I said in the original entry, they appear to be completely legitimate, even to the point of being associated with major PC magazines. It’s hard to believe that a major company would dare to spam people, after all the spam lawsuits over the last few years.

  6. Oh my gosh I am recieving those retarded spam emails and its driving me insane because I can’t seem to get my spam filters in both outlook or the one through my ISP to filter out that crap. Every day I check my inbox to find out the E-mail I tagged as spam the day before back in my inbox. It keeps coming back like a bad dream…

  7. I rarely see them anymore — not because I’m not getting them sent to me (there are at least four in my junk folder from the last week alone), but because SpamBayes quickly learned to catch and drop them. I’d highly recommend trying it.

    Here is a list of the articles on this blog that mention it, including some (a very little) information on using it. If anyone requests it, I’ll write an in-depth description of how to set it up.

  8. Apple Mail started recognizing them as spam before I even trained it, when one gets through gmail’s filters before it reaches me. I suspect that many spam filters out there have IDG in them now.

  9. I got one from them today at gmail. I reported it as spam, since they seem to be the same as itworld.com which had been spamming me from 20 or so newsletters they say I “subscribed” to. Reported them as spam too.

    To reiterate for the google spider: IDG Connect is spam. ITWorld is spam.

  10. I’ve been receiving their spam for about two years. I actually called the number in one of the emails or the website – don’t remember which – and spoke with what appeared to be a pleasent lady (now I would call her something else) on the phone. Ya, I got duped. In my naivety, I asked to speak with someone about them spamming me and not allowing me to unsubscribe. She played innocent, but was definitly from the US. The header info suggests they are all coming from the same IP, but who knows.

  11. Hi,

    Apologies for all the trouble that you have had in wanting to unsubscribe to this service. Please send a direct email to me with the email address where you are currently receiving IDG Connect email and I will take you off our mailing lists. I will also investigate the unsubscribe links which should be working properly.


    Once again, apologies for all the inconvenience this has caused you.

    Regards Matthew VP IDG Connect

  12. I don’t know whether the person above is actually who he says he is or not, but after considering his offer for a couple days, I’ve decided not to contact him. I never subscribed to those newsletters in the first place, so the fact that I’m getting them now makes them spam, no ifs, ands, or buts. And as Ploni Almoni mentioned above, you don’t contact spammers.

    Matthew (assuming you’re legitimate), you’re going to have an uphill battle salvaging your employer’s reputation.

  13. Head Geek,

    I am legitimate and my offer is genuine. If you reach out to me at the above email address I will identify why you are being sent email that you have not subscribed to, I will then get you removed from the mailing list of all IDG products. We take your complaint very seriously, hence why I will happily investigate this myself.

    Regards Matthew

  14. How about just stopping the spamming? It’s simple really, just remove everyone from the mailing lists who didn’t subscribe, maybe email them an apology if you’re so inclined. No need to further harvest our email addresses to see if they’re active or not.

  15. I have unsubscribed about 4 times from this crap, and have not resubscribed to anything associated to the. They do not respect the unsub rules… but they do have a listed phone number 508-988-7602

  16. Tommy, you might check out the comment from CrossCheck above — he tried calling too, and it did him no good. But if you’re willing to go that route, see the comments from Matthew… he’s apparently a VP with IDG, and wants to find out why they’re spamming people and stop it.

  17. Guys, I’m not with IDG, but I do SUBSCRIBE to them for work. When I changed jobs temporarily a while back, I had the same problem with unsubscribe links too, but someone on the staff there helped me out and made them stop until I purposely re-subscribed. It is a legit website. Let me tell you how this industry works. Some companies let a vendor handle emailing newsletters and managing unsubscribe lists. Most companies that send newsletters actually do this. Some companies also get paid to send “subscribe” requests to companies on a pay per subscriber basis and not all of these “lead generation” companies are legit. Email Matthew. If they’re already sending you spam, what can they possibly do besides take you off the list?

    Email me if you want! talulah42900@yahoo.com

  18. I hate IDG with a passion. They spam me regularly too and – because they LOOK like a legitimate company – I’ve tried the unsubscribe loop. Not risking that again, I get 2 or 3 mails per day.

  19. Quick update: I was one of the first commenters here, and since 2008 nothing changed, I keep being spammed by them without having ever subscribed.

    Today, looking for a solution, I visited this page again, and almost forgot about having commented. However, I read Matthew’s comment and those after his, especially GeekFreak’s: “If they’re already sending you spam, what can they possibly do besides take you off the list?”. So I decided he was right, and tried this route, and now I’m here to report back.

    In all honesty, he replied straight away, and actually seems a nice guy. He also CCed a woman from IDG Connect. His reply follows:

    “Firstly, thanks for reaching out to me directly, I do apologise for the trouble you have had unsubscribing from our service. We take user feedback very seriously and I have personally requested that your details are taken off the IDG Connect database and also any other IDG mailers (via our US office).

    If you receive any future mails can you please contact me again – I hope that this is not the case.

    Again, apologies for the continued problems you have had and thanks for contacting me directly.

    If I can be of any further assistance, please let me know.

    Regards Matthew”

    I hardly receive such a treatment from anyone, these days! This doesn’t prove much, alright, but I’ll report back in case I receive a single e-mail from them ever again.

  20. Thanks for letting us know. This seems to be the only thread on the subject, for whatever reason, and it’s one of the most popular on this blog. Please do let us know how it works out.

  21. Let us know if you now get more other spam because they reported your address as a “live” one (i.e. one that has someone who is receiving the email), a popular technique of spammers. That’s why I haven’t bothered with IDG, I just filter their spam.

  22. I confirm that it is impossible to UNsubscirbe from IDG Connect. I tried but after 6 months they started again to send me emails.

  23. As promised, I came back to report. The following day, Matthew emailed me back to confirm that my e-mail address had been removed, and to tell me to contact him again if that wasn’t the case, with the usual kindness already reported one month ago on this blog.

    Well, I must say that he did keep his word, and I can confirm I haven’t received a single message in 1 month! Give him a chance, he’s a nice person, and will really help you. With this message I’m out of here – unless they start spamming again :). Good luck!

  24. Thanks, John. Please update this entry if any new ones start coming in, as Matei experienced.

  25. I am also getting spam from an “IDG-CONNECT” and I have thoroughly researched the company and determined why nobody has stopped recieving spam. I am able to safely assume everyone here has subscribed to one of the following:

    * CIO
    * Computerworld
    * CSO
    * DEMO
    * GamePro
    * Games.net
    * IDC
    * InfoWorld
    * ITwhitepapers
    * ITworld
    * JavaWorld
    * LinuxWorld
    * Macworld
    * Network World
    * PC World

    I am able to assume this because of the following reason: They are all part of a group called International Data Group or “IDG” for short. Omitted from the list were the following:

    IDG Connect

    IDG Knowledge Hub

    IDG TechNetwork

    IDG Ventures

    The reason why your spamfilters and such are not seeing this as spam is because IT IS LEGIT. It is not something you thought you signed up for, but it is something that is some people may sign up for. Also, matthew seems to be reliable, as his apparent title is legit. Matthew Smith is the name of the VP of IDG. (Source: http://www.infoworld.com/exec_team ) Note in his message he put “I will take you off our mailing lists.” and “I will then get you removed from the mailing list of all IDG products.” This includes ALL of the listed services, as they are all “IDG Products”. If you wish to recieve no more spam, you must recieve no more newsletters from IDG. It is up to you with what you do about it, but in my opinion, I enjoy receiving my Computerworld Newsletter, and will take the good with the bad.

  26. I don’t see ZDNet or CNET on that list. Those are the only two computer-related publications that I have authorized to send me e-mail at this address. The only connection I see between them and IDG is that the “ZDNet Must-Read News Alert” e-mails often include ad links to IDG publications, and I may have clicked on one that sounded interesting on occasion. I explicitly did not sign up for any newsletters from IDG, or authorize anyone giving my e-mail address to them.

    I’m sorry, but I have to disagree on the “IT IS LEGIT” assertion. I didn’t ask for it, or anything related to it. It’s a commercial e-mail sent to me without any prior commercial relationship or request on my part. That’s spam, pure and simple, regardless of whether the messages themselves are legit in other circumstances.

    If clicking on a link to read a paper suddenly gets you signed up for a mailing list that you aren’t allowed to unsubscribe from, then some company’s ethics need a lawyer’s review. Probably a prosecuting lawyer.

    I have more important things to do with my time than railing about this company’s behavior. But if any person, company, or government decides to pursue a legal case against them for spamming, I’ll be happy to support it.

  27. @The Researcher: Your “safe assumption” only proves you are not a good researcher yet – there’s a difference between a good idea (and your idea is good) and what is reality (for which you also need proof)!

    I don’t know any of the sites on your list (I just clicked through the site), and even though some of them cover topics I find interesting, I wouldn’t sign up for my a newsletter with my work mail -> spam. The newsletter is also spam anyway, if people are unable to unsubscribe!

    As long as this discussion takes place on a commenting system where anybody can call them self VP Matthew Smith (and anyone can search for official names in the company), I wouldn’t trust them. If Mr. Smith is serious about this, he should post a link to a page on the IDG site where he confirms his identity in this thread, and repeat his intention only to send newsletters to people who want them. This shouldn’t be a problem for a VP, who already has enough time to comment here, write his e-mail for everybody to use, and personally deal with each of our IDG newsletter problems on a personal basis, right? :-/

    Finally, thanks for making this blog entry and making the IDG spam visible on the web!

  28. I’d just like to add that today I was ‘socially hacked’ via telephone into giving my e-mail address on the pretense of confirming it for IDG reports which had been sent to me.

    The dude on the other end of the line gave me a few company statistics which matched and specified my mail address which wasn’t correct. Alarm bells did go off because he mentioned a mail address that I have never used, but I must admit that in the end I did give him my mail address. He hung up shortly afterwards. His number was not masked so I can give you that: 00-44-1206619272 (including int. accesscode).

    I fear to consequences, as harvesting mail addresses of ICT managers like this is apparently worth the effort..

  29. Did some research, the registrar for their URL is “MARKMONITOR INC.” (https://www.markmonitor.com/)

    Ironically, they offer anti-spam solutions! Wonder if this is some ploy to get people to use their anti-whatever services? Either way, very annoying have multiple spam filters and somehow the spam still gets through.

    Avoid working with these idiots at all costs.

  30. I am getting two or three calls every day from IDG connect trying to send me white papers. I am sick and tired of their calls!. Every time they call me, I tell them to stop calling me but they are probably the worst hounds in the industry.

    Very unprofessional company, stay away and keep reporting.

  31. Same. I keep getting calls purporting to be from IDG Connect at work. I wouldn’t care if they’d just get on with sending them as I can just auto-delete them and keep someone in a job somewhere, but the problem is they call to verify my details every time, which is very tedious. The details are always incorrect, I correct them and get told “I’ll update that now”, a blatant lie as they call back next time with the wrong details again. I tell them to take me off the list because I’m fed up of it and they say “oh I’m sorry sir I’ll remove you right away, have a great day”. Next day – another call.

    I’ve contacted them directly to raise this issue, the person at corporate seemed shocked and stressed that they’re keen to ensure no one ever sees them as spammers and that he’d ensure I’m not bothered again – this actually got rid of them for a few weeks, then they were back.

    I don’t know if it’s that they pay some amount normally for initial sign-ups and someone in India has figured they can do a bit of man-in-the-middle scamming to sign you up, grab the money for themselves, unsubscribe you and repeat – I know this kind of thing happens a lot with surveys. IT surveys pay a fair bit of money, but you get these people phoning who “would really appreciate if you’d help them out with just 2 minutes of your time” (begging and pleading until you give in) that actually takes about an hour and you see nothing for it. Sometimes you ask about an incentive then they say they’ll send you a cheque then mysteriously cut you off at the end.

  32. This post is getting hammered by spam, so I’m closing the comments for a few weeks. Apologies if you’re a legitimate would-be commenter.

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