Bugmenot could kill communities?

Bugmenot is the place (or toolbar widget) to turn to when you want to read the news at some far away newspaper site the insists you have to login to read anything. At least that is the basic idea, to circumvent those painfully long logins at major newspaper sites where you have to declare your age, income, gender, interests, email, car model, height, weight, number of pets and people living in your household before you can get a login pass. Those long winded forms were getting out of hand, so I see where they are coming from with the idea of bugmenot.

However, this isn't the only way to use bugmenot. You can use it to list community logins. This is not good for a number of reasons. Check out Plastic.com, Fark.com, Everything2, Livejournal, Blogger.com, and even Typekey your "protected" identity on the web. There is even a few Gravatar logins.

Why is this bad, apart from messing with the fragile sense of identity that people have in online communities? Well, I can picture astroturfers and other buzz agent types sharing login community identities via bugmenot, so that their 'campaigns' don't always look to be so obviously coming from a brand new n00b account - which is usually the quickest way to spot their kind. This is, if they have learned to share.

I wouldn't be so concerned about this if Bugmenot had a trackrecord of removing URL's upon request (as their lovely FAQ says that they do). I have emailed them 4 times now, over the period of 8 months and they have not once responded nor removed the URL reported. So, it looks as if one can start hoarding community logins and stash them over at bugmenot to share them with other people without worry that they'll be deleted (from Bugmenot). So far the only community accounts removed from Bugmenot are the ones from metafilter, afaik.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (10)

  • Dabitch's picture

    My emails finally reached a human, I just received word (a word, the word "done") that Bugmenot has removed adland.tv from their listings.


    Sep 02, 2005
  • slydecix's picture

    I don't think BugMeNot leaves anything more than a scratch on communities - chances are, the people that use it for a site aren't really looking to participate in a community anyway... they just want to get their information and go. In and out. Otherwise they'd just be adding to the "inactive users" count

    Aug 29, 2005
  • AnonymousCoward's picture
    AnonymousCoward (not verified)

    I'm a huge fan of your site! Keep up the g stuff.

    // Bob Costas

    Aug 30, 2005
  • Dabitch's picture

    hehe, your name gives you away. ;)

    Aug 31, 2005
  • Andreas-Udd's picture

    Looks like Bugmenot is taking note of the examples you listed, all worked yesterday and some are no longer working (like the Typekey one).

    Maybe they'll wise up and remove adland.tv from the bugmenot listings sometime this millenia as well, and all the other communities and paid content sites that we give examples of.

    I loved the original bugmenot idea, but if it's not run properly it'll kill itself. One can't help that there are idiot users out there who post community logins or paid content sites to bugmenot, there should just be an easy way to report these links as "wrong". Their current system does not work.

    Aug 31, 2005
  • James_Trickery's picture

    You should have linked the bugmenot ad-rag login-link in the post considering that every example inside the front page post has now been fixed (you are welcome Bugmenot) but all the examples mentioned in the comments have not.

    I agree with Andreas, they have to make a better way of reporting bad logins/URLs on Bugmenot, community sites should clearly not be there, and the wisdom of crowds could easily do the weeding for Bugmenot if they'd just let us.

    Aug 31, 2005
  • Dabitch's picture

    Hindight is 20/20. ;)
    I didn't list adland up there as I didn't want the 'spotlight' to be on our own little community here but the bigger picture of the damage it can do to communities in general.
    Of course, now that I see that they removed all of those URL's but they still haven't removed our listing (I've asked them via email several times, as recently as last night even) I regret not posting it up there as that seems the most effective way to get de-listed. Sadly.
    (the exact opposite happened for our url, two fresh new logins appeared on bugmenot after I made this post. Gaah!)
    Email public AT bugmenot.com if your site needs to get delisted. Good luck.

    Sep 01, 2005