As internet users many of us maintain profiles on a wide variety of social networking sites. Different sites serve different purposes. Some are general and others more specific. We have no way of knowing if a site will work for us, until we actually sign up and make a profile and attempt to interact with other members of the site. But for those of us who are veterans of the web, it doesn't take us long to figure out if a website is a good fit. And typically, when it isn't, we can just delete our profile and go on about our business. Typically.
Not the case with Lesbotronic.com, a dating site for gay and bisexual females.
It is impossible to view the contents of this site until you have filled out a very detailed profile. Then you must wait for the site to approve you, before the profile goes live. This takes between 24-72 hours to occur. Once I was approved, which took about 36 hours, I knew within about ten minutes that this site was all wrong for me.
First of all, users are forced to choose from a short list of cities for their “location”. In my case, the city on the list that was closest to me was still at least a 30 minute drive from my home. You can only search within 50 miles of the “location” that you choose, meaning you really have no idea if any of the members are close to you or not.
New members cannot access the forum. There is no chat type communication system, no way to track who visits your profile, no way to see who is online and no way for members to rate one another. The site is rather out of date in that regard.
All of this is reasonable, as the site is totally free. And since I signed no contract that obligated me to remain on the site, I figured I would simply delete my profile and count my losses. But turns out, a user can’t just delete their profile. You have to send an email to the web-mistress and request that she do it for you. No problem, right? Wrong.
I sent a polite request to the web-mistress, along with a brief explanation of the reasons the site wouldn't work for me. In return I received an explanation of how I was whiny and entitled. I was apparently wrong about the site and the fact that it was not working for me was actually my own fault. I was provided links to a FAQ that I had already read. The FAQ is pretty hilarious, in and of itself. It’s basically a list of reasons why the users are to blame for any and all issues they might have with the site and how the admins really don’t want to hear about anything negative.
I replied to the web-mistress to let them know that I had already read the FAQ and that I still wanted the profile deleted. I waited 24 hours but my profile remained on the site. I sent a third request to have the profile removed and waited another 24 hours. Still there was no change. So I decided to remove my picture from my profile and replace it with a white square (since having no picture on the profile isn't an option). If I couldn't remove my profile, I at least wanted to remove my picture. When I checked on the profile again in the morning, my original image had been restored. That’s right –they put my picture back even though I took it off.
I sent a final email, once again requesting to have my profile removed from the site, but this time telling the web-mistress that if it was not removed, I would have to file complaints with the FTC and BBB, and about 12 hours later, the profile was finally removed.
I can’t even fathom what purpose it would serve to keep someone on a site against their will. This is one scary website.
Anaheim, California, US
User Rating :
out 7 Stars