Someone 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.