28 November 2017

AAS Trying to Stop Sales of Meeting Attendee Info

Kevin Marvel

Kevin Marvel, American Astronomical Society (AAS)

The AAS has been forwarded emails that some of our members have received claiming to sell meeting attendee contact information. We are investigating these emails and the company that claims to be the source of the information.

The AAS maintains tight control over the contact information of both our members and our meeting attendees. We do not and will not ever sell information about our meeting attendees. We do, from time to time, make our membership mailing list available to corporate members to distribute information of interest — but only after we review the materials for appropriateness. Members may elect to opt out from these mailings at any time by editing their profile on the AAS members-only website.

The firm sending the emails, and other similar firms, are not getting contact information from the AAS. They appear to be grabbing conference attendee names and then using other data sources to find contact information. In early October, after an earlier round of emails from unscrupulous marketing firms, we made the attendee list for the upcoming 231st AAS meeting in January available only to meeting registrants who log in with their AAS username and password. We will maintain this policy for all meetings going forward.

The AAS takes its members' and conference attendees' privacy very seriously. We will continue to investigate these email marketers and do our best to prevent their shady activities.