In yesterday’s newsletter, you had an article about Grouply, which struck me as odd. I heard that Grouply is a phishing site and that I shouldn’t use it. Can you please explain that to me?

Wow, I’ve gotten so many questions just like this one in the last 24 hours, I think I’ve lost count! It seems like most of you sent me an e-mail as soon as you finished reading yesterday’s article, because they just kept rolling in. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad you all cared enough about the topic to send me your concerns and questions about it. That just shows me you really care about your computer and its safety. So, since so many of you are waiting for some answers, let’s get right down to business!

To begin, I have one thing to say that will probably answer most of your questions. “No, Grouply is not a spammer, phisher or an identity thief.” Grouply does not and will never send out any type of spam, but they do understand where the concerns are coming from. When you start using Grouply, other members may send you invites to certain things going on within your group and those can sometimes be mistaken as spam. It’s also possible to receive those invites more than once, which makes it look like you’re getting spam directly from Grouply. But, as you can see, that’s just not the case!

Now, this issue started popping up during the week of February 3, 2008 and although Grouply’s not sure why, they were able to fix it right away. They quickly created an update for Grouply and it’s now set so that no user will receive an invite more than once. So, if you’re new to Grouply and you’ve already been invited to a group, you will only see that e-mail one time. Grouply even released a complete article about the issue, which, if you’re still concerned, you can read here. Also, just for your information, Grouply has been around since September 2007 and they have never run into a problem like this before.

On Grouply’s Web site, they make it clear that they are not out to cause phishing problems or get caught up in identity theft. When you sign up for Grouply, you are required to provide your Yahoo! password, but they only use that to view your group lists and send you your group messages. If they didn’t ask for that information, they wouldn’t be able to send you your daily Smart Digest or cater to what interests you most. And that’s what Grouply is all about. I can assure you that they do not use your information for anything else.

I know there are several blogs and forum posts going around the Web about Grouply these days, but if you read them closely, you’ll see they’re only speculations and they’re usually from people who have never even tried Grouply. Also, it’s important to know that Grouply’s Web site is protected by TRUSTe, which is a certified privacy company. That just goes to show that Grouply does keep your information secure and they don’t want anything bad to happen to their members. If you’re still worried about Grouply, you may want to stop using it, but if I were you, I’d at least give it a try. I mean, if it’s something that’s fun and it interests you, how bad could it possibly be?!

~ Erin