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The Shady Business Practices of Classmates.com 275

Posted by timothy
from the let-her-stalk-you-for-a-change dept.
eldavojohn writes ""Some of your classmates are trying to contact you!" reads one e-mail. Attempts to remove yourself from the mailing list may only result in more mailings from the site of ill repute. Well, Ars Techica brings us news of a suit against Classmates.com. You don't need to look far for anti-classmates.com sentiment spreading like wild fire across the tubes." Good next target: ads that say "you've already won" some expensive toy.
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The Shady Business Practices of Classmates.com

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  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:59PM (#25750421)

    "Some of your classmates are trying to contact you!"

    Does this mean they aren't? I'll just lay down and cry!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Tom? Is that you? We've been looking for you over on Classmates!

      Well, okay, not really. But does it make you feel any better?

    • by conspirator57 (1123519) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:12PM (#25750647)

      i still owe three or four of them money...

      classmates.com aren't a collection agency for them...

      guess it's not that bad.

    • Re:Damn (Score:5, Funny)

      by beadfulthings (975812) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:27PM (#25750881) Journal

      Don't worry. They (the classmates) probably just want to collect the money you owed them when you finished school.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I got the same message and I was home schooled.....and an only child.

  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:00PM (#25750445)

    And they'll never get anything from me. Hell, if I wanted to (not that I do) I could simply go to the website of the college I graduated from and look up the contact information of other alumni who have registered there. Some universities, like Harvard, offer lifetime e-mail addresses, etc. for alumni. There's a whole post.harvard.edu domain just for alumni there. Even my high school keeps track of alumni and has mailing lists, etc. available. I've never gotten spammed by classmates.com and I wouldn't bother visiting if I did. I'll just go straight to my schools websites.

    • Their service is not for people with the knowledge, and intelligence, to do it themselves. It's for the people who would have no clue on how to find someone they lost contact with. There happens to be a lot more people like that then like you in the world.
    • Lucky you. Neither my crappy uni [poly.edu] nor my hick high school [k12.me.us] has alumni lists. Well, I am sure the uni does, as they manage to send me letters begging for money once a month, but none of that info is available to me.

      I've managed to find my old friends on facebook and linkedin; hopefully none of those sites become as shady as classmates have become, though facebook is starting to get there.
  • Already illegal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wealthychef (584778)
    Good next target: ads that say "you've already won" some expensive toy.

    I'm sure this is already illegal. I've never seen such an ad. Perhaps you are thinking "you may already have won," but I don't see why that should be illegal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ZekoMal (1404259)

      I've never seen such an ad.

      I have; usually reads something like "Congratulations! You have won a ps3! Click here to claim it*" Or some such. Never received an e-mail stating this, but I've seen plenty of pop-ups and ads embedded in sites with this.

    • Re:Already illegal (Score:4, Interesting)

      by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:12PM (#25750639) Homepage

      Perhaps you are thinking "you may already have won," but I don't see why that should be illegal.

      Because it's misleading and the actual probability of having won is statistically insignificant? Why not have a banner ad that says "You might be able to play the piano with your feet!", cause then, by some fluke chance it might be true..? In the end, it's lying, plain and simple.

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      Not just prizes, but also those ads claiming you've won cash.

      Then you find out it's not real money, you need to sign up to some stupid offer, and your 'money' can only be redeemed for some inane clutter.

    • Re:Already illegal (Score:5, Informative)

      by alanshot (541117) <rurick AT techondemand DOT net> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @04:55PM (#25752445)

      "I've never seen such an ad"

      how about the "you're the site's 2,000,000th visitor. click here for your prize!" banner ads? Funny thing... several of these sites I have been the 2 millionth visitor every time I visit for the past month, and no matter which computer or internet connection I use I still am the 2M'th visiitor.

      I especially like seeing the ads for dating sites where they stole users profile pictures to use them as examples of who is in your area that "wants to meet you". Funny thing; I travel alot on business. There is one very memorable user picture that I have seen "in my area" as I surf from hotels all over the eastern half of the country, every time she is in my city. At least some of those sites have started putting disclaimers of "photos are for illustrative purposes only" in fine print. Better but still not good.

      This reminds me of one of the dating sites where a whistleblower came out a while back telling the story of how they were instructed by management to watch for expiring accounts, and when someone appeared ready to drop off the system they would send an email from a bogus user account feigning interest in the member. This would prompt the member to renew for fear of losing contact with this possible newfound love. Once the account was renewed the customer service person would stop corresponding with the person because the bait was taken and they had their money.

      And I too have received those classmates emails. too bad I was a social outcast for the most part and those I see with classmates accounts generally I dont care about (and they probably dont remember me anyway). Luckilly I am smart enough to know better so I just ignore them.

        Besides, now that I think back, I remember being a gold member and getting "you have a new message" email from the system and not finding anything in my inbox. I cant remember what the help desk's response was, or if there even was one when I asked about it.

  • Why use that? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Drakin020 (980931)

    Why use Classmates.com when you have Myspace.com or Facebook.com

    Seems to be the best way (For me at least) to stay in touch with old High School pals.

    • by Onaga (1369777) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:06PM (#25750519)

      Because they don't care about you. They are looking for the 10 year old alumni from psychology browsing some employment site for the 3000th time that gets a big ad in her face talking about classmates. She hopes to reunite with her undergrad sweetheart hoping he's made something of his life and will take her out of her life of futility.

      Well, no, bitch. I'm through with you. Mark might have been better looking and knew how to talk and stuff being a communications major, but who's laughing now? Me! Hah! hahahaha...

    • Re:Why use that? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:06PM (#25750529)

      I signed up a long time ago, before myspace or facebook existed. It's a totally worthless site.

      I've done my part to screw with their business model... they let you post a picture, and my "picture" is a gif of my email address. :)

    • Re:Why use that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:11PM (#25750617)

      Why use Classmates.com when you have Myspace.com or Facebook.com?

      Many of us who are 30+ associate those sites with the "OMG PONIES!" crowd. I'm sure that's probably changing as their userbase ages, but that's first impressions for you. If anybody my age had a myspace page, my first reaction would be that he's a total loser or way too interested in teenagers to be healthy.

      • Re:Why use that? (Score:5, Informative)

        by jonnythan (79727) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:14PM (#25750673) Homepage

        That's true for MySpace, but not for Facebook. Sounds like you're basing your opinion on Facebook on MySpace.

        Go check out Facebook. You might be surprised. Virtually everyone I know with a computer uses Facebook - more than half of my friends on FB are over 25.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by genner (694963)

          That's true for MySpace, but not for Facebook. Sounds like you're basing your opinion on Facebook on MySpace.

          Go check out Facebook. You might be surprised. Virtually everyone I know with a computer uses Facebook - more than half of my friends on FB are over 25.

          Agreed facebook is laregly poney free.

        • Go check out Facebook. You might be surprised. Virtually everyone I know with a computer uses Facebook - more than half of my friends on FB are over 25.

          Odd, I don't think any of my friends 30+ use facebook. I remember I was a few years out of college when it became popular, so I didn't get into it. But maybe that's just me and my friends.

          I do agree that I'd think a lot less of someone my age using myspace than facebook. Of course, my nieces who are in college now use myspace, with no stigma attached.

          • by Gr8Apes (679165)

            Or Doostang now. Seems LinkedIn is getting too many unwashed masses in there and not enough "professionals".

            And isn't MySpace just the place that's going to kill music distributors once and for all? (with some OMG PONIES hung on the side?)

            FaceBook is seriously for those ~23-28 that opened accounts and got hooked while in college and those that try to take advantage of them. No one else uses it.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Go check out Facebook. You might be surprised. Virtually everyone I know with a computer uses Facebook - more than half of my friends on FB are over 25.

          So they're 26,27, and some old farts who are 28?

          LinkLn is the site for professionals.

          BTW, I have neither. I do not want my information all over the internet.

          I'll be curious to see what you young'ins reap with all this in a few years.

        • by AuMatar (183847)

          Funny, I'm in the computer industry and I don't know anyone who uses Facebook- except my younger sister and her friends who are part of the ponies crowd. It may be more popular than it was, but I'd be shocked if more than 5% of the over 30 crowd used it. The only social networking stuff that they seem to use is LinkedIn, and that's for pretty specialized purposes.

        • Yep! Same experience here. I avoided those "social networking" sites for a long time, because I'm 37 - and didn't see a need to put my profile right next to all the teens and early 20-somethings. I wanted to post pictures of interesting events I attended, or of my kid, or what-have-you. No point putting that up in the same place everyone else has their 250 poorly focused snapshots they took from last night's big party.....

          But Facebook really did let me re-connect with a lot of people I last saw as long

      • I feel about the same way about Myface/Spacebook :-). I do have an account with one of them, I forget which, because a friend invited me to take a look at some pictures she had posted and I couldn't see them without an account.

        I have used Classmates to get in touch with a couple of people I lost track of 20+ years ago. I don't think I ever gave any money to the site. I do occasionally get the email that "Someone has looked at your profile!!!1111", but I ignore it for the most part. If someone had sent m

      • He's a stand-up comedian/in a band and wants an easy way to compile a fan base?
      • When MySpace started out, you had to be over the age of 18 to sign up (or lie about your age). So, there is a good portion of people on MySpace that were there before the teen revolution.
      • by harmonica (29841) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:55PM (#25751411)

        Many of us who are 30+ associate those sites with the "OMG PONIES!" crowd.

        I'm one of those. Ehm, the old guys, not the pony crowd. I took the opportunity to try to find out what Facebook is like because someone recently asked me if I had a page there, but it seems that you can't do anything unless you have an account and are logged in. The help section of the site doesn't seem to feature screenshots. Is there a way to get a feeling of what the site's about without creating a fake account? My old age keeps me from just entering all my personal data and worry later. Maybe there are some pages set to "public for everyone", so some URLs would be nice.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Is there a way to get a feeling of what the site's about without creating a fake account? My old age keeps me from just entering all my personal data and worry later. Maybe there are some pages set to "public for everyone", so some URLs would be nice.

          That is a very rational approach, I see you're taking. BUt you seem to be hung up on a bit. You don't ever need to supply them with any personal data at all if you don't want to. Oh sure it asks for things like birthdate, place of birth and various other pers

          • You can even change all that information AFTER you sign up. Everything from birthdate to place of birth to your NAME can be changed at any time.

    • by thegnu (557446)

      Yeah, but Timothy Schnell wants to get in touch with you!

    • Why use Classmates.com when you have Myspace.com or Facebook.com [...] Seems to be the best way (For me at least) to stay in touch with old High School pals.

      If you've graduated in the last five years or so, then this is probably reasonable. But very few people over the age of 30 (if not 25) use Myspace or Facebook. Those sites are oriented toward young single people with enough idle time to do that sort of thing.

      I've connected with a couple of people through classmates.com. They're obnoxious, but they do

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jaysyn (203771)

        MySpace does the exact same thing but for free. In my opinion Classmates is a scam. I signed up, paid for 3 months, decided I didn't need it & canceled my account. 2 months after the original 3 months were over those fuckers were still billing my account. Even though I a.) didn't sign up for any kind of auto-renewal to start with & b.) canceled my pay account.

        Fuck Classmates. I hope a lawyer jumps into their collective asses with both feet.

      • If you've graduated in the last five years or so, then this is probably reasonable. But very few people over the age of 30 (if not 25) use Myspace or Facebook. Those sites are oriented toward young single people with enough idle time to do that sort of thing.

        I know plenty of people over 30 on MySpace... Most 25+/-, same as me... but as for the time comment, I would say anyone with the time to fill out an online order form would have enough time for a social networking site. Once the profile is established it's really no more time consuming then adding a couple extra clicks to get to the equivalent of e-mail.

    • I was going to say the same thing. Classmates has been around for a long time and frankly the ship they missed is larger than an aircraft carrier.

      Rather than open up a community with free communication, they did what amounts to holding a list of email addresses hostage and trying to charge a monthly fee to access it. Then they bombarded us with spam to sell it.

      The people as Classmates.com should be gazing longingly at the pile of cash Facebook & Myspace have acquired in 1/4th the time.

  • When I see "One of your classmates wants to contact you!" I just say to myself "If they're someone I wanted to keep contact with, they would know how to get ahold of me."

    I also get a lot of those Crushmail...
  • Accountability? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:11PM (#25750621)

    The sad thing is how surprising it is to see classmates.com being taken to task. I've reached the point where I hear of an organization sending unsolicited lies to people in order to trick them and flood them with advertising, and I think nothing of it. It's the way he world works - but maybe it doesn't have to be the way the world works.

    • Accountability is when the douche bags that runs the joint get send to pound-me-in-the-a__ prison for all their misdeeds. Otherwise all they will do is shutdown operation and start up another one under a different name (SCO comes to mind with their current scheme (see groklaw for details))

    • It's worse than just trying to get ad dollars out of you...they actually are trying to get you to "upgrade" your service for a fee. Hmmm..sounds a lot like freecreditreport.com
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:11PM (#25750627)

    "Which one of your former classmates is doing hardcore pr0n now? Find out!"

    Reminds me of that 4chan motivational poster, I think they called it "expectations," showing the yearbook photo of a girl and her "what I want to be when I grow up" quote with a close-up of her a few years later taking a facial on some gonzo pr0n shoot. Funny in a "yikes, not really" sort of way.

  • Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swordgeek (112599) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:13PM (#25750649) Journal

    OK, bla bla bla, social networking, bla. Classmates.com, facebook, myspace, and everything else like it exist for two purposes: Selling advertising, and collecting aggregate data. We all know this. All pretense of "keeping in touch" is nothing more than the carrot to collect your information. No big deal, although it does bear repeating now and then.

    However, the people behind classmates.com have gone one step farther--they're actively lying to get people to (a) sign up, and (b) pay for a "premium" membership. This is absolutely clear fraud on their part, and I hope they get kicked to the curb for it. Being a sleazy company operating within the law just wasn't enough for them.

    Hopefully "eCrush" is next. The fact that they keep getting in trouble and keep popping back up with the same crap is reason enough to throw them in jail.

    • Re:Excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:40PM (#25751123)

      Well they make their money selling advertising and collecting data for marketing information. That isn't necessarily bad as they offer a service that people actually like, and means if you are going to get advertising you will probably see more that is based on what you are interested in and less in the random stuff. However you must realize these services will not be around unless they know of a way to use it to maintain revenue. Not that being said. Trying to trick people into paying for a service is wrong. Yes it works but good business is to make people want to on their own free will happy to pay for the service. Not try to trick them into it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ultranova (717540)

        That isn't necessarily bad as they offer a service that people actually like, and means if you are going to get advertising you will probably see more that is based on what you are interested in and less in the random stuff.

        Which is a bad thing because it is harder to resist an advert for something you're interested in than for random stuff. "Targeted advertizing" is another way of saying "hit the weak spot for massive damage".

        The most common portrayal of the Devil in folk tales is as a salesman, trying to

    • by qoncept (599709)
      "Selling advertising, and collecting aggregate data ..."
      "Being a sleazy company operating within the law just wasn't enough for them."

      I don't disagree with anything you said, but I think calling the main premise of these sites sleazy reaches a bit far. That's pretty much the reason 90% of profitable websites exist (with the caveat "profitable" because it excludes 99% of websites that don't matter). In the end, the point is turning a profit, whether by offering a free service with the above annoyances or
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bmajik (96670)

      IIRC, classmates.com bought-out highschoolalumni.com. The former was a 100% free site and I encouraged a few of my highschool classmates to settle on "that one" as the place to go to try and stay in touch. (I used to run a majordomo of people I went to school with, but that got unweildy and fizzled out)

      It was really damn frustrating to have all of this data entry we did end up being locked away in someone else's pay-ware database after the fact.

      I have basically eschewed all social networking sites since t

  • Doesn't surprise me (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mike Rice (626857)

    Quite some time ago I browsed the site, and found contacts there to several long-lost friends and acquaintances.

    In order to contact them cold, I had to buy a membership, which I did (yeah, my stupid).

    Of course having signed up and provided my email address, I was immediately inundated with hundreds of unsolicited offers for 'penis growth factor' and get rich quick schemes & etc... along with many messages which claimed an old buddy was trying to contact me, and all I need to do was buy a membership (whi

  • by jarrowwx (775068) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:22PM (#25750811) Homepage
    We found a bill on our credit card statement from some company. We called them, and they claimed that we signed up through Classmates.com. We never actually received ANYTHING from this company except a charge on our credit card. No emails, no snail mails, no services, nothing. Classmates tried to claim that by clicking some button, my wife was authorizing them to send her credit card information to this 3rd party. Anybody else think that a single-click, deceptively labeled, is adequate for disclosing credit card information? If there IS a class-action lawsuit against them, I want in on it. No joke.
    • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:31PM (#25750939) Homepage Journal

      Anybody else think that a single-click, deceptively labeled, is adequate for disclosing credit card information?

      Deceptive and infringing on Amazon's One Click patent!

    • Classmates has also billed my credit card without authorization. They still owe me $30. If I ever meet one of the assholes that works there, I'm going to beat that money out of him with a baseball bat.
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        If you didn't do a chargeback, then you deserve what you got. One phone call and you'd have your $30. If you are too lazy to do that, but want to spend time ranting about it on the Internet all day long, then you are beyond help.
        • by Piranhaa (672441)

          Agreed. A similar thing happened to me with GoDaddy. I had purchased a domain for a friend with some type of premium advertising add-on which would flaunt the domain name over the internet. After my friend decided he no longer wanted the domain name, I canceled the auto-renew on it thinking I stopped everything. This was NOT the case. The domain name itself was canceled, however, it still dinged $30 off my credit card for the advertising bit. Why would I want to advertise a domain I'm not getting?? Long sto

      • by Gr8Apes (679165)

        There's this little number on the back of your card. Call it. Dispute the charges.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stewbacca (1033764)
        Not saying classmates is right, but had you never given them your credit card number in the first place...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by taustin (171655)

      If they're doing that sort of thing on a regular basis, disputing the charge is trivial. I had it happen once with a one-time membership fee at a web site that was not only turned in to a recurring membership, but double charged, to boot. I didn't even have to fill out the usual chargeback paperwork when I called my credit card company. It was the usual, skeptical, "Well, let me just pull this up and see what we have" attitude until I told him which charge, and he pulled up the chargeback history on that me

    • Happens often. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:53PM (#25751371)

      AS part of my job, I get calls from angry card holders who've have been billed fraudulently by websites such as this one.

      Another scam is when websites require a CC for their "Free Trial" and all you have to do is cancel before 30 days so you don't get billed. Well, in most cases, folks who do cancel somehow have their cancellation "lost" or "never received" by the company. And those are the folks who actually remembered to cancel on time. Unfortunately, there wasn't much the CC company would do for them. Call your own company and see - some will back their card holders a bit more than others. Credit Unions are the best in my experience. Big monster mega banks are the worst.

      Never give a CC for a "Free Trial". Take your business elsewhere. As a matter of fact, I knew an operator that counted on most people forgetting and then when they get their bill the following month, canceling in writing, and then being billed for another month because they were already in a second billing period. He made at least 2 months of revenues off of those people. He was actually honest. When you canceled, he canceled you.

      And for the very few legitimate businesses out there that use that technique; well, find another method to limit free trials.

      If you do have a problem with those cheating assholes, file a complaint with your State's Attorney General's office of consumer affairs, your bank, the FTC, and if your bank gives you a hassle, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [occ.gov] will kick their ass. The BBB is worthless.

  • Classmates blew it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:31PM (#25750943)
    Classmates could have been the first myspace/facebook (they had a jump on the market). Instead they went the "pay us" subscription route, forever ensuring that they would be a fringe player at best (rendering them worthless in a field where mass participation is so essential). Their advertising scams are just a sign of their continued cluelessness and a reminder of their lack of foresight and failure.
  • by Mesa MIke (1193721) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:31PM (#25750957) Homepage

    ... but I've left instructions there to look for me elsewhere, since classmates.com wants money for anything useful.

    If all the other social networking sites can do it for free, why use classmates.com?

  • by LMacG (118321) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:51PM (#25751301) Journal

    reunion.com

    Same misleading type of message, but I've apparently gotten signed up for them by some chucklehead can't type his own gmail address. The first email I got from them said "confirm your membership" which of course I didn't. And big surprise, there's nothing in that email that will let me say "hey, you've got the wrong man." (I spell my name . . . Danger). And even though I didn't confirm "my" membership, I still got additional email with "1 Search for Joe Doaks - Find Out Who!"

    Thank $DIETY for gmail's instantly trainable spam filter.

  • by mschuyler (197441) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:52PM (#25751331) Homepage Journal

    Mostly negative stuff about classmates here; and I don't disagree with the lawsuit, which is about tactics, not content. But let me tell you a couple of stories about how classmates contributed positively to a couple of situations.

    I had a colleague who told me an intriguing and sorrowful story. She got pregnant during her very first sexual experience. Her mother was in denial until the baby started kicking. Her mother then proceeded to put her daughter in an apartment in a nearby city, cut her red hair and dye it black, and wait for the baby to come to term. It was born and whisked away for adoption before my colleague laid eyes on it. (What a mother, eh?) The father was never informed and told my colleague was spending the semester overseas. Mother arranged letters to be sent from France until they dwindled to nothing. I was told this story maybe 20 years ago, and the thing is, I knew the father slightly because I knew I had see a picture of him on the swim team in my annual, who had gone to my high school (along with Ted Bundy). About 5 years ago my colleague, through her own research, found her long-lost son. We decided to try to contact the father. I went through classmates.com and found him. My colleague paid for my gold membership for a year. I contacted the father via email, set up a meeting, and he and my colleague were re-united. He was, of course, very surprised to know he had a grown son. Father and son got into contact, and, for better or worse, both natural parents are in contact with their son. Naturally, they do not replace the 'real' family who raised the kid, but it certainly expanded all their lives. I didn't re-up with Classmates. I get an email once in awhile, but it's certainly nothing overwhelming or particularly bothersome.

    The second thing classmates has allowed me to do is researh in genealogy. A few of us were into DNA analysis of the family (for our own reasons) going back to the late 1700's when our ancestor in question lived. His name was Jeremiah Pack and we wanted to know his ethnic background along with that of his wife. We found direct descendents of Jeremiah pretty readily, but finding direct descendents of his wife was a daunting task because surnames of females change every generation. After several years of research we finally found a 4th cousin or so who had a complete chart with names. I was able to go onto classmates.com and find the names, and write to the likely suspects. I found a couple of women who were direct descendents of Jeremaih's wife through the female lines, therefore their MtDNA was a match. We were able to do the testing and come to a suitable conclusion. This is not as 'heart-rending' a story as the first one, but I have to tell you it settled a generations-old mystery and legend for our families.

    In both cases, the positive conclusions would not have been possible without classmates.com. That doesn't forgive their questionable marketing tactics, but let's not claim the service has no value. It depends on what you are looking for.

  • Thank God (Score:5, Funny)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @04:17PM (#25751805) Homepage Journal

    Thank God I was universally hated, loathed, ridiculed, and mocked in High School for my interest in history (WWII, Pacific Theater) and computer science. Anyone from classmates.com trying to reach me is either:

    A: Trying to kill me because I stole their girlfriend after college because I actually had a decent paying job.

    B: Trying to kill me because I ended up as their boss and fired them for showing up to work drunk after I stole their girlfriend.

    C: An ex-girlfriend planning to sue me for emotional damages after they found out I in fact did a piss-poor job writing thier final paper.

    D: A former classmate who is going through a mid-life crisis and is desparately trying to reach a former classmate in hopes thier life turned out worse then their own.

    E: A former classmate named Robert who now is named Donna and want's to meet

    F: A former classmate that needs help hiding a body in a New Mexico desert.

    G: A former girlfriend who was in band class who's boyfriend turned out to be a sexual predator and needs someone to talk to...

    H: A former classmate I owe money too!

  • by LessThanComma (1020463) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @04:22PM (#25751895)

    ... I am the one who took the bait and signed up for the gold membership. Classmate.com emails were already going to my spam folder, but I look that over before I empty it, and their's claimed that I had "2 New Guestbook Entries!" or something like that. At that point I decided to see if anyone I knew had recently added themselves to the list, and sure enough, and old friend had not very long ago.

    Suspecting that this person may have left me a guestbook entry, I bought the gold membership, instead of just tracking down his phone number. Upon logging in with my new gold status, I was rewarded by finding two guestbook entries from names I had never heard of and not from my school.

    In my defense, I am usually smarter than this. However, the good news was that when I emailed support asking to have any and all of my information removed, they complied without complaint in a timely manner, and even refunded my payment. I was shocked.

    The moral here is, if you get caught in a moment of weakness and stupidity like I did, send them an email demanding to have your info removed immediately, and maybe you will get a refund too.

  • confession time... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @05:26PM (#25752925) Journal

    I have a confession to make. Hi, my name is Ron and I'm a user of Classmates.com.

    I got an account when they first started in the mid nineties, when the service was entirely free. When they went to a 2 tiered scheme, I paid for the extended service for awhile but let it lapse when I was laid off during boom.dot.bust. Went back to the free tier at that time.

    I wonder if classmates.com started out legit and then more recently drifted to the dark side. I did not have billing problems when I quit the paid service in 2001, but that was seven years ago; don't know what they're like now.

    They *do* send a lot of cruft in the mail. No doubt about that. I wrote a rule to trash most of it. But as far as the service itself goes, I have to admit, I really have been contacted by former classmates and renewed a few relationships. Not many, probably 12 - 15 in 13 years, most of them after the turn of the century. But if someone held a gun to my head, I'd have to admit that the service has worked as advertised. Forced to rate the experience, I'd give it an ambivalent-to-mildly-positive.

    That said, if they really are doing all the stuff in the article, they deserve to have the crap sued out of them.

  • by Emperor Shaddam IV (199709) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @06:06PM (#25753565) Journal

    Yes, I fell for eHarmony. They are much worse. You know, us technical guys get so wrapped up in our work, we don't have time to meet any decent women.

    Well, eHarmony will bug the heck out of you and "convince" you to sign up for a 7 day trail. During that 7 days you will get all kinds of "Matches" with interesting, and attractive women. Some will start communication with you.

    You're thinking to yourself - this is great! I'm meeting more women then I've ever met in bars or anywhere else! Multiple matches keep showing up and your communicating with more of them. And you are thinking: "Wow - I'm going to be dating 3 or 4 woman!".

    Then the 7 days passes. All the sudden, the matches slow down. A lot of the ones you were talking to suddenly stop communication with you. ( were they even real women in the first place? Or just employees of eHarmony.com masquerading as potential dates? ) Down to 3 or 4 matches a week. None very interesting. Not nearly as attractive as the matches in the first 7 days.

    You email eHarmony and you call them ( finding the phone number takes a little work - they didn't have it on their website when I was trying to contact them ). A refund is not available after 7 days. You are out 165 dollars, if you paid for the 6 months.

    They say you need to tweak your match "settings" to get more matches. Well, heck, I have every race and religion checked, plus I have from 23 to 38 in the age range, and I have 100 miles from my zip code checked. I live in a city with over 5 million people in the metro area as well.

    After a few weeks, the matches are 1 or 2 a week. One a few ever respond. Most don't even communicate. After 3 months, the "trickle" of women is a steady 1 to 2 a week.

    If you call eHarmony at this point, they either give you the "you have to be patient, it takes time to find the perfect match" line of BS. If you keep asking for a refund, they start getting annoyed with you.

    Emails aren't responded to. I even wrote a snail mail certified letter to the CEO of eHarmony asking for a refund. Nothing. Not even a phone call or a letter. No response. It's like your emails and snail mails go to /dev/null.

    Classmates.com? Just a minor annoyance. Someone needs to sue the heck out of eHarmony.com. They are the real scammers. I wish they would get sued big time. I would do it myself, but I didn't keep good records and this happened over a year ago.

    Somebody please sue eHarmony??? Please!!!

I wish you humans would leave me alone.

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