Is Ping.fm a Lame Data-Mining Op? Or is it Just Annoying?

go away pingfmSomeone seriously has to cut the noise around here. I signed up for the Ping.fm Beta because, well, I love signing up for betas for no particular reason.

Right off the bat I knew this service was totally pointless. Why would I want to post the same message to 5 or 6 different social networks at the same time? So my friends that are also on one, two or six of the same networks hear me like a broken record? I knew it was dumb, but thinking that — just maybe — someday it could be useful, I signed up, with no intention to actually use it (I’ve done similar thing with Digg, Yelp, GrandCentral and more — signing up early and not really using until I trusted the service.

ping.fm is a scam
ping.fm is a scam

It hasn’t been an hour, though, and I am trying to close my Ping.fm account, but there is no apparent way to opt-out once you sign up (though I did change my account e-mail to no@than.ks). Unfortunately, it’s already too late — they immediately spammed my Pownce and Twitter account with the messages above. THEN, I read their Terms of Service (I know, I shoulda known better) and realized that this was the operation of two kids who likely were more interested in purging people’s data from multiple social websites than actually providing a useful service.

Don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with throwing myself out on the Internet in all transparency and am fully aware of the risks therein. But I hate to see myself and my friends get not only spammed (by each other) but also punked by signing up for a seemingly legitimate service (see Mashable‘s review today). Before we get into the small print, let’s just look at the “company” behind Ping.fm.

According to its home page, Standard Antics LLC “is a group of dudes who write phenomenal code. So much in fact, we have no time to work on our own website. So this will have to do.” Ping.fm is “powered by” Standard Antics’ only other “product,” PMUpload, which has a minimal web site that says nothing (latest news: February 2006) and features only a couple of stock Getty Images. They have another really dumb site called LivePlog.

Without wasting any more time on this — here’s a link to Ping.FM’s terms. Sure, they don’t sell the information they collect. But, “their policies may change.” And nowhere does it say that they will immediately post a message on your behalf. I’d love to hear an alternate opinion of this company… perhaps Adam Duffy (adam at neothism [dot] org) has some answers? Sean McCullough? Or perhaps I should be reaching out to Ryan Merket, who’s name and e-mail is attached to Ping.FM’s registration, although if he’s the legitimate proprieter you wouldn’t know it from his personal site and anyway, he’s probably too busy mining the endless threads of data he just accessed by opening up Ping.Fm’s floodgates.

10 Replies to “Is Ping.fm a Lame Data-Mining Op? Or is it Just Annoying?”

  1. Having my twitter and facebook statuses synchronised is great, as is being able to update twitter via IM since they broke that. I love ping.fm!

  2. Heh … next time someone pisses in your wheaties, try not to take it out on a service that is doing a good job and others find plenty of use for it (personally, I love ping.fm + socialthing). I'd recommend taking it out on whoever did piss your wheaties 😛

    Just because YOU don't like it, doesn't make it a crappy service. It just means you don't like it, and that's ok. No one is forcing you to use it. Go on your merry way.

    1. Good point, Matt. The service I should really be slamming is Disqus — I just noticed that the initial comments on this post have vanished since I began using Disqus… I will dig them out of the ether if I can and republish. I was harsh on Ping.Fm initially — it was a Day 1 first look review and I agree that I owe it a second look. Ryan and Sean of Ping.Fm commented on this post and explained what they were up to, changing and addressed my concerns. I guess I was the one doing the Wheaties-pissing. I'm ready to give ping.fm another shot.

  3. Hi Sean and Ryan.

    Thanks for the response. I am the one who posted this post in your forums (it says “nameless” for some reason). Anyway, thanks for addressing these issues. It should be normal for users to question the motives of startups when have yet to introduce yourselves to the community in a big way. You gotta respect that. We do see you have a blog an forum. It is great that you removed the “I am now…!” but there is doubt helped you guys gain major traction on 3/18/08. For better transparency, maybe you could put something about yourselves personally int he About Us section instead of Andy having to sleuth around and find out what the names behind this service are and what what your motives might be. I am sure your motives are to help users kick ass and save time, but it just needed a tad more transparency here social media land where it is easy to call this stuff out.

    thanks guys.

    ~Nick

  4. There’s no mining of any sort. It’s sad that you would even accuse us of such. But, I did get rid of the authentication messages per mass user request and by the discovery of your post here. Thanks for the feedback, in all honesty.

  5. Hey Andy,

    Thanks for trying Ping.fm. Re your tweets about us sending out an auto tweet after you register Twitter: This is a requirement do to the Twitter API — because there is no authentication protocol! We have to perform an action in order to get a 1 – yes or 0 – no.

    I hope you understand.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Ryan
    ryan@ping.fm

    PS: If you have any furhter questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail.

  6. I really wanted to think I was overreacting, Nick, but when I checked out the other sites this “Standard Antics “company” is behind I found it harder and harder to take them seriously. I’m also hesitant to give the developers too much credit — there’s a lot you can do with open APIs.

  7. Hi, Andy.
    I tend to think that all of the effort the developers have put into this and a traction they have gained today would be of more value to them long term rather than to use it for some sort of scam. I am sure they will respond to your complains as soon as possible of face more posts just like yours. But in the meantime, people might want to refrain from signing up until these issues are addressed.

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