Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Web Service Foul

To those who have been my friends since time immemorial, you would have realized that I have been blog hopping since the time I started writing. From my self made blog page back in 2003, to my LiveJournal account, to my scattered secret blogs, of blogs composed of letters to someone and of blogs dumped in Friendster and then everything dumped back into my again self made repository of writing. Everything from 2003 to 2006 has been archived there.

After a while, I then settled down to the then famous Multiply site where I had a bunch of pictures shared to friends and mostly blog posts both private and public. September 9, 2006 was my first ever entry in my Multiply site which overlaps with the Friendster blog which is already at my archive site. The last post there was dated October 18, 2006.

Before Google's minimalistic approach to things came into light, most web applications or most of the websites have one gauge in measuring effectivity: site traffic. Websites back then such as Yahoo pegs its high traffic from users who gets stuck in its endless maze of information shunned in front of your face as if a helpless baby fed a large piece of steak. Come on, look at it.. They say that everything is in your fingertips, but then again, those information are most of the time irrelevant and is just one big clutter.

These websites has this diabolical motto: keep the user in the website. Looking at it on a financial perspective, its a goldmine for advertisers. Helpless users stuck digging for useless search results, being fed with bits of teaser information, sports headlines which leads them to another site again, full of bits of information which leads you to things you never knew existed. This evil mantra of keeping users in the site led to more usability problems and more frustrated users.

Before I get back to my point, I will present to you one perfect example. Yahoo! Mail. Since the beginning of my internet days, i've been using Yahoo! Mail for my personal communications. I could recall that my oldest mail was from around 2002. In essence, I was stuck for years with the service and even if I wanted to move I couldn't back up my mail. Yahoo! was cunning enough to prevent people from using mail clients such as Outlook (at that time was the famous client) to download my mail using POP. You would have to pay for that additional service to use other mail clients. I assume for the simple reason that if people dont use their webmail client, who will view their lousy ass, huge and annoying ads? Less ad views, less profit. Simple math. Again, keep the users from opting out. Damn evil.

But then again, due to competition, Yahoo! was pressured to 'open up' a bit through the iPhone's add email functionality and now GMail allows importing mail from Yahoo! accounts.

This type of mentality harms the users. Web services should give the users the option to migrate or opt out of their service and rightfully keep their data. Now, this is my biggest problem. Multiply uses the same diabolically evil techniques to keep their cashflow cart running.

As of this writing, I currently have 503 blog posts in my Multiply account. Multiply, being really nice people doesnt offer any exporting function to save your blog to either text or XML. Blogger has that feature, WordPress has that feature, LJ has it.. Why cant Multiply have that damn export feature?

Their RSS feed is just a bunch of compilation of the first few statements of your post. None of it really wouldnt help that much.

And after looking for ideas or plug-ins to manage that. Some idiot just doesnt understand the difference between cross posting and exporting. Seriously, you dont need to parade that you could cross post your new entries to another blog. Some people just dont read.

So in essence. Thanks to Multiply and their foul play for its millions of users, you really cant leave.

Maybe Hotel California is a fitting song to a very nice service from our friends from Multiply.

"You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."

Cheers to copying and pasting old blog entries. Heck, maybe I would just code a decent parser for this stupid service.

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