Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's the deal with Homerun?

I was going to make my first facebook status today a comment about my blogiversary, but instead I had to make it an apology (and have already sent two people explanatory e-mails as well). I got an e-mail from my pastor about a free coffee from Qualia (apparently it's a small coffee shop in DC). The site is called Homerun (I'm not linking it) and it looked like a Groupon sort of thing, so I clicked through and it asked me to log in with what I thought was Open ID. The site then sent an e-mail of the free coffee offer to every address in my gmail contacts (about 250 people) and required a credit card number (for 'identity verification') to 'buy' the 'free' coffee. By this point my spidey sense was ringing 11 and I got the heck out of there. I e-mailed their customer service address asking them to delete my 'account' immediately (it autocreates an account with your e-mail address, and I couldn't find anything on their site to remove an account). I also changed my google password, just as a precaution.

Now, I can't quite figure out what their deal is (Homerun). It does seem like it's trying to be a groupon-like site. They have links at the bottom of their page to Facebook and Twitter profiles; the Facebook one just takes you to the FB home page and the Twitter account doesn't have any tweets.

I also found the webpage for the coffee shop. The have text on their page which reads "ALERT! If you have received a viral email using our name, please know that neither Qualia nor Homerun are associated with the criminals who sent it. They are operating illegally and without our permission. Please contact HomeRun directly at [] if you have received one of these emails." So that seems to add some legitimacy to at least the site in general, except for the fact that if you go to Homerun's site, the free coffee offer is right there on the main page. So did their site get hacked? There was nothing that jumped out at me in terms of funny addresses, misspellings, etc - the usual suspects. I am a little curious as to whether people are actually getting actual printable coupons at the end of the process; there is a list of Recent Activity on their home page and it does show 6 people as having purchased the free offer, which sounds like it would not be honored at Qualia based on what I saw on their webpage. Unless they're talking about a different e-mail?

A google search didn't seem to turn up anything either; I did get a lot of extraneous stuff because apparently the search terms "Homerun" and "spam" seem to go together a lot - one example was "Homerun or spam? Winning MLM selling strategies." "Homerun" and "scam" also seem to go together a lot for things not related to this particular website, because there is a sketchy investment firm with the same name. I had originally written this in my blogiversary post below, but I decided to make it a separate post in case this starts showing up in google searches, since this may be the first outside account of this site.


Randall Smith said...

Thanks for the heads-up -- I was trying to figure out what this was and yours was the first clear explanation. Thanks to you, I avoided going through any problems with it!

Anonymous said...

Same thing happened to me! I got so many messages about it. I hate that site.

robert deeble said...

Homerun and Qualia are evil. I have attempted to contact their main offices but to no avail. Here is a BOYCOTT QUALIA & HOMERUN facebook page please consider joining.

Anonymous said...

(for deeble) I really don't think it would be in the best interest of Qualia to spam their customers with free coffee ads if they were not prepared to back it up. Your faceboob boycott seems a little like a witch hunt. Just my 2 cents.