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.

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  • AnonymousCoward's picture
    AnonymousCoward (not verified)

    Aug 30, 2005

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