April 14th, 2005


Webbased apps embrace suckiness...

I'm kinda disappointed lately in the now bigtime, formerly new kids on the block web apps, and how they've mutated into a lot of boring companies that I don't give a crap about. There have been a lot of disappointments lately, such as:

Meetup.com -- They announced a new pricing policy of charging group organizers $228 a year in monthly fees for hosting their groups. They're justifying this outrageous expense by holding group organizers personally responsible for getting the group's members to pony up. Why?!

To pay the salaries for all these employees, that's why. Apparently, they thought it was somehow okay to hire on a lot of people, even though they lack a viable business model to support themselves... to which I say, most imploringly, go to hell. Just die. Die, die, die. Your company isn't worth surviving, and I hope all the group organizers move to maillists, evites, or some of the hundreds of free alternatives... but thanks for doing your part to keep fuckedcompany a viable operation. Go the way of Flooz, you flopcom hacks.

Other companies that are annoying lately? Flickr.com. They got bought out by Yahoo! recently, and it shows... One of the things that their service routinely does is filter annoying bits of text sent by mobile phone companies, so that they don't post to Flickr. It takes them about a minute to configure things over there to block these messages, but recently it took them nearly two months until they finally implemented a "copy and paste" fix. They literally spent more staff time passing the buck around and putting off irate members than in fixing the problem itself... I suspect they were either in acquisition meetings, attending conventions, or otherwise creating new paradigms. Gah.

Need I remind anyone that Flickr -- like so many of the recent new kid dotcom acquisitions -- is no more profitable under their new corporate owners than they were by themselves?! At some point, you have to wonder how many of these formerly indie webapps are going to go under like some bastard stepchild Microsoft acquisition, their code and members rolled into the megalith, but their services otherwise left to wither and die.

Lastly, I find LiveJournal and their approach to handling spam annoying... even more annoying than their faux democratic voting on what things LJ should work on. Can *ANYONE* claim that adding whiteboard or Sxip support should be one of LiveJournal's top six priorities?! How about making existing features work first? Like directory searches, for instance... or maybe even LJ portal.

Maybe it's just the level of exposure that my journal has, or the number of posts I have made over the years, but I have had to delete about 5 pieces of spam a day lately that I have been getting in comments. Some of this has been from anonymous comments, while some has been from actual accounts. In any case, it's becoming abundantly clear that the spammers have got LJ's number, and that the amount of spamming on LJ is set to increase.

So, here is what I propose... make it so that anonymous comments cannot be left without being sure a human is on the other end. If you can make people type in one of those random text images to make sure they're not creating a phony account, then you can make anonymous commenters type in a similar bit of text to make sure that they're not running a spamming script. Better still, let me, as a journal owner, insist that anyone anonymous who wants to comment to my site do so with a valid, verified email address. That doesn't mean that they should have to create an LJ account, but they could at least leave me with an email address and/or optional URL, like they do for comments left on numerous other services. I would *like* to visit the sites and weblogs of my visitors, even if they do choose not to become LJ members... which, incidentally, isn't a bad thing that people should be punished for.

LJ's commenting can be secure without being balkanized, but the current reality -- where commenting is both insecure *AND* balkanized -- is strictly for the birds. How about tossing a little of that dotcom money towards making what LJ already does work well for a change?!