I’ve been having some problems with Blogshares lately. (Link goes to a brief history of Blogshares’ troubles last year, as described by StupidEvilBastard.com) Apparently they saw fit to add Mobrownpau to trading, without so much as a by-your-leave or even a note by email. I only found out about the unauthorized listing when Blogshares profile URLs started showing up in my referrer logs.
Somewhat annoyed, I registered an account with the game, thinking I could easily “claim” my weblog, then remove it, and cancel my account — but they don’t make it quite that easy. Once I had claimed the weblog for my own, there was no way to remove it, the URL changer didn’t work, there was no option to delete my account, and my messages to their support email address went unanswered. In a fit of pique, I put a popular shock site into the “Alternative URLs” field for my claimed weblog, changed my account name to “Blogshares Sucks,” switched the login email address to a spamtrap, sold all my shares, and forgot about it, thinking they would just delete the account for abuse, and that would be that.
Last night, I got a message from Subwolf, a Blogshares Admin:
“You ping weblogs.com, we don’t need your permission, so kiss – my – ass.”
Not very pleasant or mature, and though I probably deserved that response, it doesn’t say much for the kind of people running the game. Even less tasteful, however, is the mentality on their end that if a blog pings or has ever pinged weblogs.com (an option I turned off, by the way), or indeed, if any blog is simply out in the open, then it is regarded as tacit approval of being added to the game.
It’s okay being added to link indexers and feed readers without notice (though I did have to block the Popdex bot for being a bit too persistent), but a fantasy trading market is quite different: with it comes an entire culture, economy, and sense of commodification which makes me uncomfortable, and while I’m not anti-capitalist, there are problems when participation and exposure in that context are non-voluntary, unrequested, and uncontrollable. That, plus the responses and feedback I’ve seen to and from Blogshares, certainly calls into question just how safe the average user’s private information is with them.
I can’t find myself in Blogshares searches, so I suppose that means I’ve been delisted, though people have been added again after delisting. It would appear that Blogshares takes its cues from the Berlin-Bremen Stock Exchange.