I received an email from a recruiter today entitled "RSVP for our webinar with Stack Overflow",

Stack Overflow+Hays

Hays is hosting a webinar with Stack Overflow and I'd like to personally invite you.

It does not include a single-click unsubscribe button.

Did Stack Overflow sell my email to these people? If so, is there a way to opt out? Preferably something short of cancelling my account.

  • Did you receive that email on the address that is on your website? Because it took me 3 clicks to find that and desperate recruiters are wiling to invest more "detective" work to find candidates.
    – rene
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:11
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    It is worth mentioning that you're not the first to receive unsolicited emails: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/319776/… but that was from 2016. Unless SE turned evil I assume the answer from Tim Post should still stand ...
    – rene
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:14
  • @rene: Could you point me in the direction of where Stack Exchange leaks my email? There's an easily accessible support account available through the website disclosed on my profile, but this particular email was sent to the email associated with my StackExchange account, not the support email. EDIT: nvm. You said it was the website account in the original post. Thanks. Feb 27, 2020 at 19:11
  • The address on your website is the only one I found. As pointed out in the answer, no emailaddresses known by only SE are shared by SE, yet for unknown reasons over the cause of several years some cases similar to yours popped up. Do know there is a known "hack" with gravatar hashes but your profile image seems to be hosted on imgur so I doubt that route is used.
    – rene
    Feb 27, 2020 at 19:17
  • Could it be you use that same emailaddress on your developer story, as I see you have one that is public.
    – rene
    Feb 27, 2020 at 19:20
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2 Answers 2


I’m sorry about this frustration you’re experiencing. I’m constantly annoyed at the variety of unsolicited emails I get and when they don’t have an unsubscribe link, it feels worse because there’s nothing I can do to make it go away... and, heck, it’s illegal (in many cases, depending on where you live or maybe where the company is).

While Hayes is using our name, from what I can tell, we’re not closely associated with this event, though they’ve been doing them for a few years. We did not - and would not - give them your email address. Tim Post wrote about this some in 2016 and the policy hasn’t changed. Heck, I’m hesitant to email people myself without permission from them.

I’m sorry about this. I think your first recourse will be reaching out to Hayes directly to complain. Here’s a guide about getting off lists for unsolicited emails. I haven’t tried these methods so your success may vary.

  • 2
    I'm curious as to what "not closely associated with" means. They are using your name, so there must be some kind of association. Feb 27, 2020 at 19:07
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    @RobinDavies Using someone's name does not mean there's a relationship. I can give seminars on Microsoft Word without having a business relationship with Microsoft. I can mislead you about the nature of my relationship with Microsoft if I'm an unethical scumbag, but that doesn't have anything to do with Microsoft.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 24, 2020 at 11:59
  • @ColleenhV: Sure, but Trademark law does allow Stack Exchange to control use of their trademark, by suing the pants off unethical scumbags like Hays for polluting their brand (starting with a round of suitably stern letters from corporate lawyers). Unless of course Stack Exchange does have some legitimate association with Hayes. They do, in fact, since Hayes posts job postings to Stack Exchange. For me, the critical question is whether I need to spam filter any email with Stack Exchange in the title; or just anything with Hays in the title or body of the email. Jul 25, 2020 at 23:06

The response I received (so far) from Hays:

Please take a look at this link as it will best explain Hays association with Stack!

It doesn't explain Hays association with Stack!

To be perfectly honest, I would have just sent this email straight to the SPAM folder had it not included Stack Overflow in the title of the email.

Speaks to trustability of Stack Overflow. Allowing an agency to post jobs to your website is one thing (especially seeing as you seem to manage what gets posted). Selling your brand to headhunters for use in spam emails is a slightly different thing.

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