From my perspective, you fooled me into using my professional network to advertise your service. You sent an email which purported to be me, put words in my mouth, and made me look like an ass to my colleagues.
I had to go look in my LinkedIn inbox and send out apology emails to everyone you messaged on my behalf.
> (in white writing) on black backgroud)
In tiny text. That I didn't notice until it was too late.
> and let you see the message
I didn't see the message beforehand. It isn't visible by default. I didn't realize what you were really going to do until I Googled for "FounderDating spam", which turned up the above article. That article, by the way, was submitted by one of the people you spammed, and who I wrote an email to to apologize.
> it's also completely opt-in - no tricks where you can't find the "x".
It's actually opt-out, not opt-in. And by opt-out, I presume that means I should've marked all of your default selections as not "entrepreneurial".
> not send or choose who they send a message to
It's not clear from the UI that picking a person sends a message to them.
> There is nothing sneaky about it.
In my opinion, it's downright deceptive.
> there isn't much we can do about that.
You could try not abusing my trust.
Here's what you should have said:
"It was not our intention to mislead users with the recommend feature. We felt the current wording was clear. However, apparently it is not. We will be issuing an update as soon as possible to make this feature more clear and ask the user to review and modify the message that will be sent out before we send it.
Thank you for this valuable feedback."
You'll thank me later.
Here's the facts of this flow (http://imgur.com/KSsinEq):
1. EVERYTHING that indicates a message will be sent is squished into one corner in 11pt font-size - smaller than anything else in the flow. Neither the header nor the explanation indicate a message will be sent.
2. The two links that you squished into a corner do not follow standard link conventions, they are neither underlined nor in classic blue. Which is interesting because across the rest of your site I see you use the underline convention of grey links (in the "save for later' and the footer for instance).
3. It's not white on black, it's #c8c8c8 on #3a3a3a, those are both muted tones that make the contrast significantly less stark. It makes a difference (check this out: http://i.imgur.com/Pypkv3n.jpg). The header is pure white on the background, so clearly you knew the color would make less of an impact when muted.
Why not just own up to the fact you wanted to get the word out and this was a classic attempt of a company being too smart for it's own good? I'm sure this version converted way better than when you made it clear it sent a message. Instead you come in and just fan the flames.
In all sincerity, I did not even see the link text the first time I looked at the screen shot (and I was consciously aware it should be there). I'm not in the least bit surprised others "missed" it.
I recently applied to FD and it appears that you randomly
spammed 10 of my LinkedIn contacts. What the hell? Not cool.
I was highly embarrassed when I received a reply to one of the LinkedIn messages. And your failure to respond to my email only makes it worse.
Oh that is totally untrue. There is something fairly obvious you could do: Don't attack people with viral tools in the first place.
Anything that intentionally adds overhead to the other person, without adding value to them, is an attack. How many people can you possibly think would want to advertise your service for you - and need your words to do it? You think if people really want to share your product they're going to develop a sudden writing difficulty?
You know as well as I that people don't read everything - we have finite attention, we do things in a hurry. And you exploit that as an attack vector for your nasty advertising stuff.
You're acting against the other party's interests from the off and you want to what?... Make it seem okay somehow? I suppose strictly speaking it's better if it's the way you say it is than some other way - but it's like saying: "Well, strictly speaking, I only murdered three children. Not the ten everyone said I did."
Checkmate. She can't worm her way out of that.
The guy whining in the blog post exactly opted in.
He clearly did not give his full consent because the UI was designed to bury the thing that he would have explicitly opted-out of.
> FounderDating asked me to identify ten that I would vouch for. I didn’t have to do it but I thought oh well, I guess I’ll do it and see what happens. So all I did was click their photos. Nothing more.
Can't speak to the rest of the flow but clicking photos indeed sounds like opting in.
I can see how it'd be easy to miss the fact that this will send an email, although it's stated unambiguously, at the top of the page, and underlined. And it's definitely opt-in. I have to select folks.
There really is. The fact that you either don't realize this, or care to admit it, is cause for concern. The email being sent out to your users' contacts is highly personal, and one very few people would be comfortable with.
> If someone doesn't read the line "this will send a message" there isn't much we can do about that.
How far would you extend this logic? That is to say, how much can be justified by saying someone "missed the fine print"? In my opinion you clearly crossed a line here, just not a legal one.
Does the warning say that the message will be signed by the person who sent the message (a message to X from FounderDating saying I clicked a thing is very different than a message to X from _me_)?
Does the warning say that you are highly recommending to the person that they join? Or does it just say you are vouching for them?
(These are all actual questions, as I haven't gone through that flow. I'm not trying to be snarky)
Being more transparent about the message that you're going to send, as well as adding the ability for the user to edit that message, would help you much more than a half-assed defensive statement on Hacker News ever would.
I agree that many people don't read everything they see on sites, but I believe we should optimize our sites/products for that, to help those people pay attention to the details that matter to them.
Not reading the terms and conditions of Reddit when all you do is browse and read and never even log in: not too important.
Not FULLY understanding that you are going to send an email to my contacts, using wording that YOU wrote to make it appear as if I wrote it: pretty damn important.
If you wanted the user to be able to see the message or cared that they did, you would have made it more obvious what was going on here.
That said, she now knows that people aren't reading the instructions and should find someone to get them to.
Opt-in means the X is not checked by default.
Opt-out would be where the X is checked, and people have to find/un-check it.
Opt-out is disallowed (ethically and/or legally) in many situations.
I don't know if you're truly doing opt-in or -out, but I wanted to point out the difference.
Opt-in is how you avoid unpleasant surprises. When it comes to email marketing, some even advocate double confirmation: You opt-in, and get an email where you have to click a link to confirm you really do want it.
Does anyone has a screen shot of that page?
Right now you just look pissy.
I am not saying I disagree that this practice is shady, but I am not sure where the bad attitude and grow up part is coming from. There is a lot in between "your practices might be misleading and slightly shady" to "grow up you have an incredibly bad attitude"
A user was asked to endorse people, but that action ended up endorsing a product; that is the very definition of deceptive viral marketing.
Someone who is too eager to attract users and too confident to politely respond to even the most scathing criticism is clearly struggling with a lack of maturity. If this was an overly zealous employee, that would be one thing, but the founder/CEO? Giant red flag.
(I am the original poster.)
“It’s difficult for me [or the other customers] to tell if they do this deliberatively to try to sell… or if they’re just careless with the way they’re designing things,” he said. “You need to see your product from the user’s standpoint.”
Um, you misspelled your company name.
If people have to "choose to not send", then you shouldn't claim your process is "completely opt-in", as what you're doing is the very definition of opt-out.
Instead of blaming users, how about stepping up to the plate, and addressing the problem?
Perhaps you could post some screen shots of exactly what someone would see and apparently what someone missed?
While it seems possible that someone missed a checked box it doesn't seem possible that someone missed particular wording which is what you imply happens by "let you see the message." Can you clarify this with screen shots? (I'm just noting how people are taking you to task over this and I'd like to see exactly what someone has seen.)
It's too bad because your business seems really valuable and would have been something I would have considered using if it wasn't for this terrible experience.
I hope you take my feedback as constructive and you use it as fodder to justify for changing this UX. Good luck.
- Sef (http://sef.kloninger.com)
Yes. In a SMALL font. INTENTIONALLY far away from the Agree button. You know damn well what you're trying to do. If you really wanted to give them the option to see the email sent out, you would have designed that to be transparent.
But you didn't. Intentionally.
edit: Louis not Louie