UPDATE: To allow someone to email text to your Kindle, you must actually do two things: supply that person with the Kindle’s secret email list *and* add the sender’s email address to a “white list” of approved senders managed through your account at Amazon.com.
The white list mitigates my initial concern that email addresses shared with Delivereads could be sold or shared with others. If I give your private Kindle email address to someone, he or she can’t use it unless his or her email address has been added to the white list.
That said: I still think it’s good practice for anyone collecting email addresses to say, right up front, exactly how that data will be used and whether or not it will be shared with others. I’m still not sure why the good folks at Delivereads have chosen not to do so.
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While the idea sounds cool at first, I won’t be signing up for it, and can’t encourage you to. In fact, I’m a little surprised that Gruber and Godin have recommended the service to their thousands of followers.
Here’s why: Every Kindle is associated with a secret email address you can use to email documents directly to the device. If you give someone that email address and add them to your list of approved senders, they can push anything — anything at all — to your Kindle.
To sign up for Delivereads, you have to hand over that secret address.
No promise that you’ll never receive advertising. No explanation of who is curating the articles provided, or why, or what motivated those inclusions. And no promise to keep your Kindle’s private email address private.
As someone has already pointed out about Digg (and, by extension, Facebook): “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” Delivereads is a free service. So how, exactly, will it pay off for its investors?
I’m thinking ads … or paid placement of articles … or sales of email lists.
Someone will point out that you can unsubscribe whenever you like. (You can.) Someone else will point out that you can always change your Kindle’s secret address. (You can.) And as Dave Pell notes in a tweet today, you can always remove people from the list of approved senders, too. (It’s true.)
But these things are also true of your personal email. If you start getting tons of spam, you can stop using that email address any time you like, get a new address, and even create rules to block certain people from sending you email. My point is simply this: you shouldn’t have to worry about going to any of that trouble. The good folks behind Delivereads should tell you, right up front, what they plan to do with your private information.
For me, the Kindle is a very private space. I *like* having 100% control over what I see there. And no promise of curated reads (curated by whom? according to what criteria?) is sweet enough to blindly turn control of that space over to someone else.