Walloped

On the urging of a friend, I recently signed up for Wallop, the latest and greatest social network out of Microsoft Research. Of course, there’s a whole set of questions about whether they’re too late to the social networking party, whether their slick flash interface will help or hurt them, and about whether the ability to make and purchase mods to customize your Wallop page will make any difference.
This blog entry was provoked by none of the above; rather, by an email from Wallop I received this morning:
wallop2.gif
In this email, I (and presumably everyone else in my Wallop “network”) are receiving the full text of an email I thought I was sending to Wallop, the company. Why did I send such an email?
Because a few days ago, I received a similar “digest” from Wallop. Only this one had nothing in it:
wallop1.gif
So I hit “Reply,” saw “Digests@wallop.com” come up in the “To” field, and typed “Why are you sending this to me if there haven’t been any updates?”
Never did I imagine that hitting reply would be the equivalent of hitting “Reply All” and that my words would be sent back to me a few days later.
With the product design hat on, I get it. It’s a nice feature, and it’s a nice, low-friction way for people to send updates to their friends without even having to log in. But for Pete’s sake, let people know what’s going on! Set the expectation that any reply is going to go out to one’s entire network, and provide a separate, obvious link to manage their email preferences.