Saturday, September 1, 2007

Quechup to the times... is one of the newest social networking sites to pop up and has made quite an impact on me, albeit in a negative way.

Earlier today I was invited to join the network. I accepted the invite and decided to make a profile and check it out. During the set up it said it would look though my gmail address book and see who else was on Quechup. After it got done thinking, there were four check boxes. It said "would you like to be friends with these people". Since they were already on Quechup, I clicked yes.

Apparently when I clicked yes, Quechup sent emails to EVERYONE ELSE in my address book inviting them to be my friend on the Quechup site. (For more of my personal reactions to this incident, check out my personal blog at www. anthonyfontana This is a familiar process for those who use facebook. However, without one additional page asking if I'd like to invite everyone by email.

This incident (and of course, a PAID networking site) got me thinking about the amount of trust we put into social networking sites. It may have said somewhere on that page "would you also like us to spam everyone in your address book with an invite to our site?" But my intuitive reaction was to click yes, invite the four friends you have checked. There was a level of trust there, built by similar interfaces on other sites, that Quechup took advantage of.

Now comes the kicker. During my profile setup, it asked me questions about height, eye color, as well as whether or not I live with my children. However, when I tried to enter simple information in the text box, things like "I'm an educator," or "I use Second Life", an error message appeared informing me NOT to put that sort of info on their site due to "identity theft on social networking sites." It then gave me the same error message when I tried to enter such things as "art, movies, and music" as interests.

Here, Quechup is trying to build a false level of trust by insisting that they are protecting me, meanwhile collecting a lot more information than other social networking sites have. Was I willing to give up the info... sure. Will I now? I don't think so.

How can we establish trust with websites that promote trust in relationships? What role does intuitive interface play in our expectations of service? What happens to our trust when these expectations are not met or even worse broken?


cyberdiva said...

and gosh - I didnt fill in all that stuff - because I was running off somewhere.

Very interesting...

Kelly Christopherson said...

Completely agree. This site seems more like a harvester site than a social network site. I would say they have quite a lot of information about many people who have become use to giving away personal information when registering on social networks. Let's just say I won't be using the site.