February 22, 2007 2:01 pm

Follow-Up On Loowa

:note: nothing

This a follow-up to my original post about the Loowa website. If you haven’t read that yet, this post will probably be nonsense.

Soon after I sent my “delete my profile” email, I received a response from the personal email address of Loowa’s creator, Scott:

Meggan

No worries. If you’ll send me a message in loowa (just so I can verify that this it’s your account and all that jazz) I’ll be glad to
remove it. The account removal tool has been offline while I work on it.

Peace :)

I got that and I thought, “Offline? OFFLINE? Who the hell takes their deleting-profile functionality offline while the site is still going?” I figured that this email could mean one of two things – either 1) he is incredibly dedicated to his customer service, to the point of answering all customer inquiries himself and personally going through and doing all admin functions by hand, or 2) Loowa is actually some crap excuse for a social networking site, one that is not well thought-out or administered, run by some dude who probably lives in his mother’s basement.

Turns out I wasn’t far off. Scott may or may not live in his mother’s basement, but Loowa is really just a crap excuse for a social networking site.

I recently received the following comment from Loowa’s creator, Scott, on my original Loowa post. As I figured this might happen sooner or later, I really wasn’t surprised by it but I was intrigued when my suspicions about the nature of this website were further confirmed:

Scott says:
It’s always fun to read reviews about yourself.

Sorry for the hassle, but most of the site was built in a few afternoons as a gag to follow up a video podcast I did about the supposed horrors of myspace. The privacy policy was mainly a copy/paste job from myspace. I don’t really know what all it says as I haven’t read most of it, but I didn’t want to get sued, and I assumed they’d know how to cover for that. :blush:

I’m just a guy tinkering on the web on his laptop… heck, I wish I were a creepy multinational sometimes… :o:

As I suspected, we’ve got some guy copy-pasting shit from MySpace that he doesn’t even read – hoping it would prevent him from being sued, nevermind the fact that stealing legal verbiage from a “multinational” is hardly ethical – to make up for the fact that his website is neither that well-planned or well-executed.

I would like to thank Scott for being so laid-back about the whole deal, because he could have easily been hostile and vindictive. I didn’t write the first post or this one to be mean – I think his website needs help, and I want to explain where it needs help and warn people about the nature of his website so they don’t get stuck in the same situation I did. Had I known it was a one-man show with copy-pasted legalese and an utterly confusing purpose, I never would have typed my email into that box in the first place.

Scott, my recommendation to you is as follows:

  • Be professional. Forcing a user to email you personally to make an account change is not professional.
  • Do not run your opt-in website without a way to opt-out. I’m sure there’s some sort of legality issue involved in this, as it reminds me of unsolicited email – you receive several emails to which you did not subscribe (or did so unknowingly) and yet there’s no “unsubscribe” option to remove yourself from their email list. I’m tempted to look into the legal issues, but instead I’ll suggest that you re-instate the ability for users to delete their own accounts which solves the whole problem entirely.
  • When communicating with your users, please use a Loowa-based email account, not your own personal one. I don’t care if it’s help@loowa.com or customerservice@loowa.com or pigsfly@loowa.com, but it needs to be something Loowa-based. This inspires trust in you and a sense of respect for you and your “company.”
  • Expand your FAQ. Include questions users might actually ask, like “what is this website all about?” Better yet, have an “About Loowa” page and a FAQ.
  • Don’t label non-search things as searching. Why call something what it isn’t? It’s irritating and confusing.
  • Explain your lingo. This could easily be on the FAQ page.
  • Don’t steal other company’s policy texts. A simple Google search for “sample privacy policy” came up with 144,000,000 results, so I’m sure one of them would fit your needs. Why steal when you don’t have to?

I guess, though, if it’s all a “gag” anyway (his words), why not make it obvious as such? If you don’t care about user satisfaction, make that clear somewhere. FAQ, perhaps? About Loowa? “This website is meant to be a gag and should not be taken seriously.” That’s all it would take. I think the website has potential, but it is in desperate need of a focus. And non-pirated legal documents.

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