Tripmela sells out its customers

So Tripmela, the travel meta search engine run by Jared Blank has put itself up for sale on eBay. But along with the company and its assets Рit has also decided to sell 80000 strong, validated database as well. 

So I kind of read that as extremely unethical and I said so on Alootechie where I first read this and Jared actually commented, that his privacy policy allowed him to sell the database.

The core issue at play here is that Tripmela is planning to sell its database in seperation from the site on a platform like eBay without validating the buyer, wherein any Joker with a Credit Card can get peoples data. This underlying irresponsibility that is displayed is also a major cause that user privacy is a joke.

Jared reply to my comments on Alootechie

Hi Akhilesh,

It is not at all unusual for companies to sell their email list to an acquiring company – it happens with basically every company that has an email list.

We had it in our privacy policy from day one that our email list could be sold at some point.

Closing down isn’t an optimal situation for anybody (obviously), and we’re hoping that another group can provide our subscribers with the same types of great deals we’ve been showing for more than 2 years.

To which I can only say that

I have pulled up the tripmela privacy policy and the relevant two clauses

Business transitions

In the event Tripmela, Inc. goes through a business transition, such as a merger, acquisition by another company, or sale of all or a portion of its assets, your personally identifiable information will likely be among the assets transferred. Such transfer will be subject to this privacy policy, unless you are otherwise notified

Tripmela, Inc. is the sole owner of the information collected on Tripmela, Inc.collects personally identifiable information from our users at several different points on, as described below.

… third parties are prohibited from using your personally identifiable information for any other purpose.

While the first clause allows you to sell the data, it actually would only allow you to sell the data as part of the site acquisition – and the acquiring party would only be able to use the data as part of ongoing operations with TripMela… not for use with any other site.

There is actually another issue and that on the sale of the site on eBay (currently at 90,700)¬†itself, as per eBay’s¬†Prohibited and Restricted Items List¬†the sale of any form of personal data identifiable lists is not allowed.

Users have to be aware of what they are signing up for especially when they give detailed profiles. We cannot afford to become careless online… Read the terms and Conditions, read the Privacy Policies.