Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

As I mentioned earlier this year, one of my New Year’s
resolutions is to remove myself from online communities where I no longer
participate – it makes no sense to have a profile that’s abandoned and hasn’t
been updated in months (or even years). So, I’m saying goodbye to Classmates,
Friendster and maybe MySpace.

But as we all learned when Facebook recently proposed
altering their terms of service, is gone really gone? What happens to your
information when you delete your account? While we’ve come a long way since
2504 Steps to Deleting Your Facebook Account, not every service makes it easy or clear. (For example, there’s a difference
between deactivating and deleting your account on Facebook)

Classmates

So, let’s start with Classmates.com – we’ve all received
those emails about classmates looking for us. We’ve probably wondered why they
aren’t looking for us on Facebook. And then we discover that we have to pay to
see anything of value. If you’re like me, you abandon the profile creation
process half way through, never going back enough to make it worth it and never
getting annoyed enough with the emails to delete the profile. But I’m living up
to my resolution, so I’m back at Classmates.com and successfully remembering which
email I used to register. So, where to delete that account? Not under account
settings. Every time I change screens I have to kill a pop-up that asks my
birthday. After a lot of looking, under Help there’s a question How do I
cancel my membership?

If you’re a free member of Classmates.com then you have to
visit the Remove Your Registration form, select a reason for leaving, click
Remove Registration and then confirm.

If you’ve paid to be a Gold member, then you have to contact
Member Support to revert to the free level and then cancel, but you will lose
any membership fees you have paid.

If you’ve registered more than once, you need to log in
under each account and remove each registration invidividually.

Goodbye high school classmates.

Friendster

On to Friendster. Logging in took 2 tries to remember my password
since it’s been over a year since I’ve been to the site. I don’t even get many
emails from them since only a few friends are still using it. A click on
Account Settings shows a Cancel Account link at the bottom of the page. This
brings you to a form that reminds you of everything you can do on Friendster
and what you’ll lose if you cancel. Then you have to re-enter your log in and
password, check a reason and confirm that you want to cancel.  With that done, just to test, I tried to log
back in and happily received an error message saying “The email address you
entered is not a valid Friendster login.”

MySpace

When I log into MySpace I remember why I never check it and
my ambivalence about deleting the account is gone. Click on My Account and then
on Account and scroll down to Account Cancellation. After a reminder that you
will lose everything you’ve uploaded and selecting a reason from the list, you
will see a pop-up offering to show you how you can enjoy MySpace more, but if
you persevere you will have the option to actually cancel. And then they send
you an email that you have to confirm that you wish to cancel. (I seriously
felt like saying “no means no” in the comments field by the time it was done.
Can I just go please?). We’ll see if it actually works since I can still log
back in to my account.

Facebook

As previously mentioned, there’s a difference between
deactivating your account and deleting your account on Facebook. If you
deactivate you account, all your messages, photos, etc. will still be there
waiting for you – like you never left. To actually remove everything you need
to either uninstall every application and delete each photo and message
individually or delete your account.

To deactivate, just click Settings in the upper right corner and select the Deactivate account option. If you choose to delete your account, you will find a
reminder that they were wrong about the change to the terms of service and
won’t you please reconsider, but if you’re set on leaving, enter your email
address and click.

We’ll see if that stops the email reminders from each service or if now they
just try to lure me back. Are there any other communities or services you’ve
tried to leave that haven’t made it easy?

Lisa Crotty

Marketing Manager

Lisa is a Senior Optimization Specialist at Innate – her friends even teased that she A/B tested her name change. Lisa studied Philosophy of Science & Technology at Virginia Tech and is always asking why.

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