back to article UK IT job outfit punts 491 private email addys

UK IT recruitment outfit ecrm people has pulled off a bit of blinder by exposing the email addresses of what appears to be its entire mailing list of potential candidates for a Senior Web Developer post in London. The missive, suitably censored here to protect the innocent, begins: From: Ross Miller [mailto:Ross.Miller@ …


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  1. TC


    how is this news?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      This is an IT site. It is read by IT people. IT people use IT job site. IT job site just sent IT people's email addresses to lots of random strangers.

      Does that help? Did I use too many syllables?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Love this

    On a more general note...

    "...If an addressing or transmission error has misdirected this e-mail to you, you may not under any circumstances disclose, distribute, forward to any third party..."

    I love this. You see it all the time, of course, but it's completely unenforceable, even in court. Why does anyone even bother with such nonsense? Is it just to make management feel better or something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Love this

      > "Why does anyone even bother with such nonsense? Is it just to make management feel better or something?"

      Working as the only IT bod that actually knew one end of a power cable from the other in a largish solicitors practice, I remember being asked to force staff to use a disclaimer by the Senior Partner. I asked the obvious question.

      His considered response was that while such disclaimers had no actual legal value, they looked professional and were expected and thus not including them made us look like we didn't know to include them, rather than showing we knew they were worthless which obviously didn't look good for our corporate image.

      That, and the fact that the number of people that know they have less utility than a chocolate teapot are vanishingly slim. Therefore, lots of people will actually respect the provisions in the disclaimer.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        What you're saying then... that most people are stupid?

        Yep - that sounds about right!! How did the human race ever get to it's present position in the food chain? Ok. we're knackering up the air we breath, the water we drink and just about everything else, but... oh hang on, this is where we came in, no?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        No disclaimers

        It's amazing how many UK companies include these pointless disclaimers in their emails which as you put have the utility of a chocolate teapot, biut fail to include their company registration number, registered address and place of registration on their emails which has been a legal requirement since Jan 1 2007.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Love this

      unenforcable except where a contract exsists between the two parties, say a terms of business Agreement.

      yes mostly useless.

    3. Allan George Dyer

      I like the ones...

      that say, " MUST delete all copies of this message", surely that's an instruction to break into their systems and start deleting.

      Mine's the one with the large sledgehammer marked "data erasure tool". Yes, Officer, I am authorised by the system owner.

  3. Mike Cardwell



    That is all.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    This is why we need clippy

    "Hey, it looks like you're about to spam the Internet with data which should be protected and get your organisation into PR trouble, would you like some help?"

    The user will click on yes, as they always do.

    Clippy could then use the three-strikes principle. The first time it gives a basic course on data protection, the second time a displays a series of bullet points, and the third and later times it just bluescreen the computer.

    1. raving angry loony


      "third and later times it just bluescreen the computer."

      So how is the punter to know that they've screwed up with data protection vs just the usual bluescreen? I think we need some amperage in there, maybe to nipple-clamp ID tags provided by Brown? They'd like that.

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    Bullshit disclaimer

    In spite of the stupid disclaimer - you can do what you want with the email, its contents, address list, etc. There is no contract implied by you receiving email and so you have not agreed to and terms & conditions and are thus not bound by them. Stupid disclaimer notices might be cheaper than properly training your staff (or employing people with functioning grey matter in the first place), but it is not really effective.

    You are, of course, under privacy constraints although I am not sure what the *legal* ones are exactly, but I would conceal 3rd party addresses -- just as El Reg has done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Actually, you can't do what you want with an e-mail - the copyright belongs to the author not the recipient. You are, therefore, potentially committing a copyright violation. Admittedly that's a civil matter not a criminal one, and the disclaimer is still stupid, but the point still stands. If I send you an e-mail, you publish it and make a load of money, then you may well have a civil case to answer.

      1. A J Stiles

        Not necessarily

        If the author never intended for the communication eventually to enter the Public Domain, then there is no copyright for them to hold.

  6. Pete Burgess

    my arse!

    Technical error with the database my arse!

  7. Peter Clarke 1

    Bootnote 2

    I trust when the recipients check the CC box of the apology that it will NOT contain 490 other e-mail addresses

    1. moonface

      Personalised emails

      Too funny. I thought exactly the same thing.

      However you never know the MD might actually get poor old Ross Miller to type them out individually, just to be on the safe side.

      Bootnote3: Your forthcoming apology may take some time!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Technical error?

    Yeah right....

  9. Ben Boyle

    Of course...

    ... the personal apology will be created by simply replying to "All" and sending everyone the mailing list all over again ;)

  10. Mountford D

    IT agencies are not IT buffs

    I was getting regular email updates from one I signed up to ages ago and when I tried to unsubscribe, their automated email reply system produced no effect and the unsubscribe link on the email led to a dead page. Some time later I found all emails from them were tagged as spam. Evidently some recipients had the same problem as I did and in frustration, reported them to a spam list. I've had nothing more from them since so I guess they have either fixed their problem or got taken down as spammers by their ISP.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      So true

      ... and never better illustrated than when applying for one of the vacancies they send you.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    This proves...

    how utterly useless most recruitment companies are. 491 is 'targeted' is it? Right. I bet Ross hasn't even read through ten of those people's full CV to determine if they are truly suitable for this job. I bet he's put the standard "if this role is not suitable for you, feel free to pass it on..." A.K.A. "do my work for me" bullshit at the bottom as well.

    Anon., because I have to deal with these wannabe stock-market traders every few years or so.

    1. Gaz Jay

      Spot on

      When I was looking for a job when I first left uni, I made the mistake of applying for many though agencies such as the one in the article.

      The impression I got was that they (the agencies) would pick up on certain words in my CV, and match them to works in a Job Spec.

      "Ah, I see he has knowledge of PHP, he'll be perfectly suited to this PHP Development Management Job on £60k then" - despite the fact that if they'd read my CV they would have seen that I had limited knowledge of PHP from a Uni project from my 2nd year!

  12. Anonymous Coward


    I await the ICO fine....

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Who'd a thunk it

    IT recruitment consultants are IT-illiterate, ignorant, parasitic, corrupt, lying, slimey imbeciles?

    well whadaya know?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    yeay I was on the list!


    'We were having major database malfunctions on Monday afternoon unfortunately resulting in this email not being blind copied to its recipients........'

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Nothing like an IT staffing firm in control of its own IT

    And this is nothing like it.

    The 2 crown jewels of *any* IT recruitment firm are its relationships with its customers and its contractor/perms roster.

    Sending *either* out to the big wide world is a very bad idea.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    "He said he would send a personal email explaining the error and apologising to each of the unwitting recipients by the end of the day."

    Something like this...

    From: Steve Morrisey []

    Sent: 19 April 2010 17:03

    To: K-----, Alex; O-----, Mark; J-----, Michal; W-----, Moses; N-----, Hemal; M-----, Jack; R-----, Amit; P-----, Patrick; F-----, Peter S; R-----, Andrew; D-----, Ian; E-----, Anthony; M-----, Anthony; R-----, Adam; W-----, Andy; K-----, Sunil; B-----, Demuel; R-----, Alex; L-----, Rob Shan; F-----, Muhammad; G-----, Jeremy; S-----, Uday; J-----, Harshit; S-----, Matthew; G-----, Pete; S-----, Jamie; B-----, Mark; P-----, Hashin; I-----, Saqib; L-----, Brooke; P-----, John; H-----, Kristoffer; S-----, Grzegorz; W-----, James; P-----, Joe; S-----, Salman; S-----, Warren; R-----l, David; M-----, Richard; B-----, Harry; B-----,...etc. etc. etc.

    Sorry about that.

    Steve Morrisey, MD.

    Dumb in the extreme, however, I wonder how many of the recipients were equally dumb and clicked "Reply to All"... I bet there were quitee a few =O/

  17. AlistairJ

    Recruitment agents, is there anything lower?

    Title says it all really. To these people, your career is merely raw material. Your future is their sales target. They like to call themselves "recruitment consultants" in the same way that bookmakers like to call themselves "turf accountants". A grubby and shameful business, conducted by uneducated spivs. Our company no longer deals with agencies for recruitment, thanks to their own activities.

    Hey you, out there in the cold with your freshly formatted CV, think carefully before dealing with recruitment agents.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      They are scum

      Sadly, as a job hunter you dont have anywhere near the same lattitude when it comes to dealing with recruiters.

      The majority of companies still use them almost exclusively - and the ratio of jobs advertised via recruiters vs those advertised via normal means is shameful. If more companies had the sense, and balls, to directly recruit the world would be a better place and we could get rid of this pointless layer of nonsense.

      Most recruiters (there are exeptions but not many) resort to a policy of throwing as many cvs as possible at a role (suitable or otherwise) and hope one gets it. Considering the outrageous finders fee they charge this means they get about £10k for a few hours of work.

      the only upside is that other than the time on the phone listening to bullshit and the slightly unclean feeling you get after talking to them, it doesnt really cost anything to use a recruiter. Even companies that object to them wont know you've also got your CV with a few agencies (or even every single agency you can find). Just dont believe *anything* they say.

      (AC because I need to deal with them on a regular basis .... )

    2. Anonymous Coward


      "A grubby and shameful business, conducted by uneducated spivs. "

      Some of my friend resemble that remark.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        That must be a lie - recruiters dont have friends.

  18. Camilla Smythe


    Please, surely 419.

    Even the masters of the art have been know to slip up in a similar way.

    Likewise the rest..... "I shall be personally apologising to each and every one separately personally with personal messages to each and every one separately.......... by using the fricking software properly before I click the fricking send button..... CLICK."

    Oooops Bugger... not the end of the day yet. Hmmmmm, fag break then pub then.

    That would be a nice one. Given the list might they not get together and compare Mr Steve Morrisey's 'standard apology' just to make sure it has been appropriately 'personalised'?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Happens all the time

    "a technical error with the company's database, which meant the contacts were not included in the BCC field."

    Yeah, right. Joe Monkey Recuitment "Consultant" emails everyone he can think of, in the vain hope that someone somewhere might be suitable. I've been on the receiving end of these more than once.

    Let's see, we need a SQL 6.5 DBA with experience of Windows 2000 Advanced Clustering Server and Lotus Domino 4.5.1b, must have three years experience of Organic Linux - let's email everyone on file, perhaps someone will reply.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Joe Monkey

      his name is Ross Miller apparantly.

    2. sandman

      Re: Happens all the time

      I trhink many of us will have suffered from the seemingly random approach. I suspect that they trawl their databases for relevant keywords in stored CVs, so if you have the word Oracle in yours you will be approached for all Oracle(ish) positions, no matter whether or not they fit your area of expertise.

      There are some specialist recruiters who are really good - once or twice I've been either the only, or one of a couple, of applicants that have been approached for a position with a precise skill fit.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    The missive, suitably censored here to protect the innocent, begins:

    From: Ross Miller []

  21. Stone Fox

    I don't know if the author reads the comments...

    but if you do, is it your opinion that this is enough for an ICO fine? After all it's just email addresses.

  22. Nigel R Silver badge

    er, so who at El Reg.... applying for / was on the distribution list of likely candidates for the Web Developer post then?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      old dataset

      I was on the email and I'm pretty sure the list is pretty old as I'm often approached with offers for jobs in London & South East which reflected my location about 6 years ago.

      Even though recruitment consultants can seem like bottom feeders at the best of times, the good ones can do a good job and if you are looking for work it definitely worth making sure you market your CV to as many relevant agencies as you can. They're in a numbers game and their hit rate can be pitifully small.

      And lastly, ok so its a bit of a cluster fuck that the mail went to 418 disinterested candidates, but there might have been one who was interested and did need the job, so good luck to them in the interview!

    2. Spoonsinger
      Paris Hilton

      Tiz sad...


      Recent degree in Graphic Design, and doing recruitment. His soul must be totally destroyed.

      Paris - because she knows graphic when she sees it?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Graphic design?

        That'd explain the mis-use of apostrophes then.

  23. Harry

    "while such disclaimers had no actual legal value, they looked professional"

    I disagree.

    Any disclaimer, no matter whatever it says or whatever circumstances it is used, serves only to make the perpetrator look incompetent.

    If you need a disclaimer, then you're either trying to cheat somebody of something that they are legally entitled to, or you're not confident of your own competence.

    It's like the old "Errors and Omissions Expected" note that used to appear on old fashioned invoices. Totally pointless.

  24. Mike Holden

    Spammers, the lot of them

    I'm an Oracle DBA, and regularly get job punts for SQL Server DBA, just because "DBA" matches. I should think myself lucky that because my skills include Oracle and Unix that I don't get every job with the word "and" in the spec.

    They never take you off your database when you ask them either.

    They also seem unable to grasp the idea that if I state I want a job within commuting distance of Manchester, that I won't be interested in jobs in Plymouth, Brussels and Los Angeles.

    Bunch of scum suckers, the lot of them.

  25. b 3

    fresh in ;)

    on behalf of Steve Morrisey, MD, ecrm people:

    Dear Sir

    It was brought to my attention late yesterday that a db search mail shot was sent in error across a group of Candidates who have registered with ecrm people - this email contained each individuals email address rather than push this information into the Bcc field of the email (the standard default).

    Firstly please accept my personal apology in regards to the web developer email you may have received from us yesterday.

    It seems our 3rd party supplied db let us down somewhat! (in fairness this is the first time this error has occurred in a number of years, however rest assured that this functionality has been rendered inactive until we have 100% understanding of what made it fail and it has been put right) - this has been escalated and is being dealt with at the highest level

    Secondly, I concede that we could have minimised the impact here by Ross running a more effective/appropriate search (491 candidates is not a finely tuned search!), however as he is new to the job (less than a month in) I am willing to accept a level of inexperience here (rest assured this is a lesson he is learning the hard way!) - we were all trainee's once.

    Our apologies to all of those concerned. Should anyone wish to discuss this personally then please email me at and I will call back

    Yours sincerely

    Steve Morrisey


    ecrm people

  26. stu 4

    AC 12:21

    I couldn't agree more.

    The main reason I gave up contracting and went back to permie work was the relief of not having to talk to B-Ark fuckwits every 3 months.

    When I am eventually elected dictator I will take great pleasure in lining them all up for a good wall killing. Them and the travel agents... don't get me started in the travel agents.......*


    *refund not forthcoming because I booked a 'bespoke' package holiday, not a package holiday, and my accommodation in turkey is still available should I arrive.....

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Got a call off a recruitment consultant.

    3 years after I registered with them.

    Was I still looking.

    Not 1 *single* effort made to contact me before then.

    I declined.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What's a trainee's once?

    1. handle
      Thumb Down


      And who do "individuals email address?"

      This guy doesn't exactly command any respect for his grammar.

      Perhaps he should go back to being a trainee too?

      1. scottboy

        Are they recruiting grocers?

        To put the apostrophe in "trainee's"?

      2. scottboy

        You fail too

        That isn't a problem with his grammar - it's a problem with his punctuation.

  29. Dave Gomm

    They're not a bad bunch

    I've known Steve and his team at ecrm for about 10 yrs and can vouch for this being anomalous behaviour

    The ecrm senior consultants know their stuff (especially in ITAM and ITSM), they're well connected with leading companies and they've placed quite a few of my old friends/colleagues in good positions.

    I'm also on their mailing list, I get emails semi-regularly which are well aligned to my skillset and are only addressed to me, if there is anything that's a really good fit then they always pick up the phone for a chat.

    This could've happened to anyone, its a shame it happened to one of the good agencies and not one of the others who call me each week without having a clue of what they're talking about (names withheld but you all know a few like that).

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