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Friday, January 18th, 2008

Classmates Guestbook

I joined Classmates years ago as a way of hooking up with old friends, and the site enticed me to do so by offering free benefits. But lately I’m come to suspect their motives and business practices. They don’t seem to be advertising-supported (of course, how would I know? I use Adblock), so they must rely on paid memberships to derive their revenue. So far, I’ve resisted their attempts to recruit me into a membership. I sometimes got contact information that included an email from visitors that might have known me, and used that to contact them directly (which never seemed to work), but who knows the ambivalence of a casual web-surfer?

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of notices that someone has signed my guestbook. On most websites, that means someone who wants you to notice that he or she has seen your information and is interested in saying “hi” to you. But on Classmates, you have to pay to see who did this. So I tried to hack the system, and posted a photo (viewable by all) that included my email superimposed on the image. I keep getting the guestbook signing notices, but nobody emails me directly.

Is Classmates using an automated system to post guestbook notices just to get me to sign up for paid membership? Or am I getting guestbook signings from people too oblivious to notice the email or too lazy to contact me directly?

In either case, I’m willing to withhold the US$39 from Classmates to find out. So if you see me there, send me an email. Otherwise, I’m not interested.

Posted by Greg in Networking, Posts About Me


This entry was posted on Friday, January 18th, 2008 at 18:12 PST and is filed under Networking, Posts About Me. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Classmates Guestbook”

  1. Keith says:

    I was wondering the same thing (about Classmates guestbook entries) and found your post. I saw this article a bit later in my search:

    So, yes, I’d say it’s a scam.

  2. dandlion says:

    I was amused that I was not the only one to do this, I created a jpg with this message:

    It Strikes me as bad marketing to blur
    guest book names. You might have
    conned a membership out of me had
    you not done that

    Oddly enough, no long lost classmates bothered to email me at my displayed public email address. However, since updating the photo constituted activity, I received a new “someone signed your guest-book” notice at that public email address today.
    While I suspected as much of the site, it is nice to see that I am neither the only one who had these suspicions or the only one to figure out the “jpg image = email address answer”.
    Thanks to Keith for the link further validating my suspicions.