Startup ozbuy.com has exposed itself to the competition and shaken the foundations of confidence in online e-tailing in one fell swoop by sending out a chunk of its customer email list.
The email, obtained this morning by ARN, contains the email addresses of an estimated 3000 customers.
An apologetic Michael Glezerson, ozbuy.com's managing director, admitted the company had made a "human error" at around 4:30pm yesterday.
Glezerson explained that ozbuy.com and its contracted developers were testing new functionality on its website and accidentally emailed what he claims is only a section of its customer addresses.
And he claims the response from customers to date has not been overly negative. "I am amazed how some people have been OK about it," he said. "I have phoned people back personally who have a comment to make."
When asked if he was worried the error has dented the reputation of both his company and other etailers, Glezerson said simply "I don't think so, not at all".
Ozbuy.com does not retain its customers' credit card numbers as a sign of its sensitivity to security concerns, he said. "This is purely a human error."
However, one customer remains unimpressed and attacked ozbuy.com in a reply to the entire list of which he was a recipient:
"I have protested to ozbuy at this stupid lack of protocol, and requested they take me off their list, now that the horse has bolted. I would suggest you could do the same, so that ozbuy is forced to take the security of its customer information seriously."
In a conversation with ARN this morning, John O'Meara, managing director of reseller IT Facilitators which runs a B2B procurement site, described this as "the most stupid mistake of all time. Credibility has gone out the door for everybody," he said of companies with online transaction capabilities. "Who is going to purchase online now?"