Of the many recent posts and articles on Rapleaf, the following three provide a pretty good sample of concerns and perspectives.
Stefanie Olsen at ZDNet makes it clear that Rapleaf the firm includes three “prongs.”
The first prong is Rapleaf, a people search engine and social network for managing your reputation. Next is Upscoop.com, a similar site that makes it possible to discover, en masse, which social networks people in your contact list belong to. To use Upscoop, you must first give the site the username and password of your e-mail account at Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL.
The third business is TrustFuse, which for marketing purposes “perform(s) deep searches on people to enrich data on your users,” according to TrustFuse’s previous Web site. In other words, TrustFuse packages information culled from sites into a profile and sells the profile to marketers.
The very synergy between these three businesses may cause concern, especially since some of the firm’s web pages don’t make it clear that it is in three businesses. So may the fact that the firm may violate the terms of service of some of the sites it searches.
Nicholas Whyte used Upscoop, and is now outraged at Rapleaf and apologetic toward the people in his address book.
Finally, there’s an apologetic post on the Rapleaf blog by CEO Auren Hoffman. It’ll be interesting to watch the reaction. My current attitude toward Rapleaf is one of uneasiness, but that may well change in one direction or another as I follow the story.