It was the GG’s membership that led us to become a victim of credit card fraud for the first time in 30 years or however long I have had a credit card. I went full-tilt into Internet warrior mode and managed to obtain a full refund. The vendor claims there was no fraud. In a very technical sense, I see their point but I don’t entirely agree. Unethical is what comes to mind. But more about that some other day, it’s long and complicated.

In the process of determining how the scammer operated, I decided to explore myself, so I set up a free account. Unfortunately, unless you ante up some cash, all you can do is set up a basic profile. Over the course of two weeks, a whopping five people left their names in my guestbook and I couldn’t see who they were! I pondered this. Old boyfriends, maybe? Secret admirers? *Highly* unlikely, but curiosity finally got the cat and today, I “upgraded” to three months worth of “gold membership” for $15. Just for the record, I was *very* careful to click “no thanks” when two noisy Reservation Rewards screens appeared to offer me $10 rebates and other fantabulous deals and freebies. Yes, they talked out loud, a big no-no in the web usability world. (Wave to the Reservation Rewards folks just in case they are still monitoring my obscure little corner of the blogosphere.)

Setting up a profile was an interesting exercise in itself. I didn’t have the faintest idea what to do with the “bio” section so I just put the url for ababsurdo in there. It’s as biographical as I can get, albeit not very chronological. Error! Error! Classmates spat it right back at me. Apparently you can’t embed a url anywhere into your profile. Not to be daunted, I tried again: “ababsurdo dot com.” I’ll probably get booted out if somebody besides a dumb computer program notices it.

Then I got to the “Q&A” section. Hmmm. There were a lot of questions and I had trouble with most of them. Here are some particularly sticky ones:

  • Pets? I don’t know why they didn’t have an “obnoxious amphibian and friends” option. I had to check “none.”
  • Dream vacation? Uh, where’s the box for “schlepping up and down the I75 SUV Speedway in an insect carcass encrusted Honda Accord” or “throwing buckets of water into the old Houghton Lake toilet to flush it.” Or how about “taking out the garbage with an octogenarian?”
  • If you won $100 million tomorrow, what would you do? I won’t say but y’all know how much I *hate* real estate developers.
  • Biggest pet peeve? Sheesh, why are they limiting this to one answer? Lemme see. I *checked* “unsolicited advice” because that probably is my BIGGEST pet peeve. But I also wanted to check “bad drivers,” “long lines in stores,” “people with too many items in the express lane” (even though I regularly boogie through the uscan with too many items), “people that interrupt others,” “sitting in traffic,” “SPAM,” and “telemarketers.” I also think they should have included “unethical on-line businesses,” “horrible telephone customer service,” “scary cable subcontractors,” and I’ve got a few more but I’ll quit while I’m ahead.
  • Why are you here at Classmates? I checked “just curious.” That’s more or less true and they didn’t have an option for “battling on-line credit card fraud.”
  • How would your friends describe you? I think this was my personal favorite and it even had an answer that I think probably fits: “indescribable.” [No Froog, “ugly and obnoxious” was not a choice.]

Those guestbook signers? I only had a vague recollection of any of the names and couldn’t connect them to faces. Not surprising. I was definitely not one of the popular kids back in high school. Even now, despite the fact that I seem to have a lot of friends, I don’t think of myself as popular. I pick my friends pretty carefully. One interesting trend was that three out of the five actually graduated three years *before* me. That suggests to me that they are probably noting my last name and connecting it with my much more popular cousin Mac (he’s a person, not an Apple computer) and, if anything, are interested in his whereabouts. They won’t get anything out of me.

Anyway, if I don’t get kicked off Classmates for posting a thinly disguised url, I’ll hang out there for the three-month trial and see what happens. The truth is that anyone who really wants to look me up doesn’t have to go to All they have to do is google my name.

5 Responses to “”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    Anyone Googling my name will come up with a brazillion entries for some Canadian runner… and probably *nuthin* about lil ol’ me.

  2. Bill Says:

    Joining up with Classmates was dumb. I offer my humble apology.

  3. kayak woman Says:

    You do not need to apologize. I think that the Classmates concept is kind of cool, actually. There *are* people I’d like to reconnect with from high school at some point. And I do *not* mean old boyfriends. At least not any more than anyone else and *definitely* not to rekindle anything. I don’t see why Classmates can’t make its services free. Myspace and Facebook do. What’s the difference?

  4. Webmomster Says:

    Someone’s out to make a fast buck, that’s why. Why else would they allow that idiotic pre-checked box that most people would miss that authorizes them to make unauthorized credit card charges???

  5. Mark Says:

    Anyone googling their name is bound to be disappointed. Except my management, who treasure their lack of recognition. We can’t all be Madonna.