Filed Under (Internet, Rants, Social Media) by Sean on July 23rd, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I am so sick and tired of classmates.com’s bullshit I decided to write a quick blog post about it. My biggest gripe about it is the fact that you cannot read your own guest book that others sign without paying for a Gold membership. This flies smack-dab in the face of what social networks are all about. Having grown weary of this charade after not being able to read several guestbook entries compounded by the spam I’ve received from classmates telling me someone has left a note and that I have to pay to retrieve it, I decided to update my classmates.com profile page. I assumed that I could provide at least a modicum of contact information, such as a blog link, or even links to other social network profile pages. Nowhere is there a predetermined place on your profile where you can enter such contact information. I decided instead to create an entry on my “Bulletin Board” (equivalent I suppose to Facebook’s Wall).  Here’s what I wrote:

Find me on facebook or my blog. I do not check classmates.com since they want you to pay in order to read what people have written you. Find me on Facebook at http://facebook.com/maslowbeer or my blog at http://seanstoner.com. Thanks for stopping by!

Immediately after submitting the bulletin board post, the site displayed a notice that my post had been hidden because I included website addresses, personal contact info or innapropriate language. So, I obfuscated the website addresses using the typical facebook dot com slash maslowbeer scheme. Seems classmate’s programmers have been very busy in detecting these schemes due to all the incredibly harmful content that has been posted such as links to facebook, because it detected these as links as well. The notice also told me that classmates.com was trying to create something that was “friendly for everyone.” Right.  Included was a link for me to submit the post for manual review by their “Content Policy Team” with a field for me to enter additional comments. So I took advantage of that and sent them this comment:

Seriously – every social network allows you to include contact information so people can find you and learn more about you. That’s the whole point of social networking. But, you choose instead to extort money from people to read what people have sent you, and add insult to injury by not allowing me to put up links to my profile on other networks or my personal blog. Your reasoning “to make classmates friendly for everyone” is complete and utter bullshit. I hope you guys get with the program. There’s a reason facebook is worth several billion dollars as a free site and your chicken-shit site isn’t. Finis.

It should be entertaining to see what their Content Policy Politburo has to say in response. I will post it here when I receive it!

Does everyone else hate classmates.com as much as me? Share your story in the comments below!

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Comments
Rodrigo on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

Wow, I’m even more frustrated by classmates.com than you are. Our high school class officers and others interested in having a reunion originally tried through Classmates to organize everything. However, Classmates’ tedious website made information impossible to find. Also, people wanted to contact each other directly and plan accordingly. Classmates hampers organic growth through its weak free system, stifling communication among people. In fact, two members of our committee had the premium service, but, in what has to be it’s biggest bonehead move, the sender AND the recipient have to be Gold Members in order to communicate. Thus, they could only talk to themselves and other Gold Members. What a fuckin riot! After a few months, we moved everything to Myspace and had an easy time releasing information and getting people in touch with everyone.

Classmates is the antithesis of true social media. The ironic thing is that classmates has been around for a LONG time and, had it approached things the way Facebook/ Myspace did, it could have had a huge head start in the social networking category. Classmates could have easily been far ahead in it’s field but failed to grow because of its unyielding approach to monetizing it’s members. This led to sputtering growth, and since there’s little growth, there’s little beneficial innovation to make the site efficient and more user friendly. (for example, Facebook has changed through the years and, with actual users trying the features that are implemented, can determine which changes are welcomed and which cause damage to it’s brand.)

Its really a tragedy, as the raw number of user registrations on Classmates is pretty impressive. The fact the site is bloated and full of ads spurns people away. If Classmates had tried a free system with a premium system on top (or just simply free) we could have been talking about them instead of Facebook.

Dave on July 23rd, 2009 at 11:02 pm #

Right on, Sean! Several months ago I unsubscribed from classmates.com’s email marketing. Then I unsubscribed again. And again.

Nothing I did seemed to get me off their damned email marketing list. So I simply hit the spam button in Gmail, adding them to my spam folder for good.

I wouldn’t classify Classmates.com as social media because there is nothing social about closed doors and pay walls. I suspect they are frantically clawing for revenue in a market dominated by Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, Brightkite, etc.

Maybe they can sell out to Microsoft or AOL for some cash before they die? Those would be FABULOUS partnerships, by the way. ;-)

Sean on July 24th, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

@Rodrigo – well said, indeed. That is super frustrating. They are their own best competition, it appears.

@Dave – it will be interesting to see how it evolves.

drmiggy on July 27th, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

I also tried many, many times to unsubscribe from the classmates.com email barrage. It finally worked, but not after many enraged emails sent on my part. That site is pointless because every class I’ve been part of has a group page on Facebook now.

Dennis on July 30th, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

I was so upset with classmates that I started a truly free classmate site. woogiewoogie.com Now all I have to do is find a way to promote it. Any idea’s? woogie woogie to you all.

Sean on August 3rd, 2009 at 5:50 am #

@drmiggy I’ve spoken with numerous people in person who’ve read this post about their experience in trying to plan class reunions using classmates. Most of the class was basically extorted into paying for a gold membership due to the reasons above (and the tools planners use to put reunions together). Without exception, the classes switched to Facebook about midway through the process. One has to wonder if anyone over at classmates HQ has had a lightbulb go off or at least is scratching their head.

I have yet to receive a response from classmates review board; I don’t expect to hear from them any time soon, either . . .

GeoffreyM on August 18th, 2009 at 8:59 am #

I cannot stand Classmates and am interested to see if you get a response.

CandacitaBonita on September 21st, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

Classmates is the most annoying thing to hit my inbox. More annoying than penus enlargemnt pills, free ipods and discount electronics combined. I hate hate hate it. That is all.

Dennis on September 22nd, 2009 at 11:54 am #

I started woogiewoogie.com classmates to let you do what you want without the advertising and pop ups and someone always asking you for money. Give it a try, it’s free and we are starting to get some classmates.

2pages on August 22nd, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

Like most I became involved with cm.com in help with a 50 year class reunion. First it was “free” then $10 for a year of their “Gold” then I forgot about it and the next thing I know they are trying to hit my creditcard for $40 because I didn’t tell them yesterday I didn’t want their crummy service. They have refused to remove the charge so I am disputing it! But it is a financial scam of the worst order.

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