Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Slow Suicide of Suicide Girls

Nice title, but wishful thinking. Suicide Girls is going to go strong for a long time. It is, however, haemorrhaging members right now. It'll make no difference, of course; there are thousands of paying members on Suicide Girls, and there will be thousands more. However, I shall no longer be one of them. Let me explain why.

I joined Suicide Girls at the beginning of the year, and I absolutely love the site. It's a fantastic place to meet like-minded people, make new friends, chat about common interests, and yes, look at naked ladies. It's great. I've made some genuine friends on there, among both models and mere members. A short time ago, I took over the ownership of the Doctor Who group, and was enjoying being the mod for a bunch of fellow geeks. I was planning to go to the SGUK group's meet-up in October, to meet some of these guys and girls in the flesh. I was having a great time.

A few days ago, it was announced that the site would soon be taken down, and replaced with a new, more up-to-date site that would work properly on phones and tablets. This is something I welcomed, since I spend altogether too much time on my phone, and the SG site really doesn't get on well with it. We all knew that some members would be up-in-arms about it, and there were some changes that seemed a little questionable, but things change and most of us were looking forward to getting used to things.

We took a look at the beta-version of the new site. Some teething troubles, but all pretty good. Yet we had some concerns about privacy. There was some considerable concern over this from people who didn't want their private information suddenly going public.

So far, so minor. The SG staff asked for feedback on their open board, and it was duly given, Most of it was polite criticism, some of it was not. However, the response was uniformly dismissive. Not terribly good customer service, or indeed, general politeness. This, naturally, created more negative feedback. All we asked was that our concerns be taken seriously.


Sean - that's the site owner - is a well-known asshat, but as long as the site is being run well, who cares? However, it stretched beyond this. Having given their feedback, members found that their negative comments were being deleted, and worse. Jovankat, after deriding Sean's approach (above), found her account deactivated. So did several others well-liked, respected members. Later they came back online - having been rolled forward so that they had reached their expiry date. Now, members pay anything from $4 to $48 for up to a year's membership, so it's easy to see why this made people even angrier. The more people who spoke out against this, the more people got deleted. People started to leave; long-term members, multiple group owners, even the models, either deleted or leaving out of disgust.

None of these people had breached the terms of use. There are many who have - it's a sex-based site, so pervs and creeps abound, and in theory, bombarding girls with unwanted messages or unsolicited cock pics warrants a barring. Most of those guys are still around. They didn't criticise the site.

Jovankat phoned the customer helpline, to find out why she had been banned from the site for a year, with no refund. They couldn't give her a reason. Now, as with any business, the owners have a right to say, essentially, 'Get off my property!' to anyone. One guy on our dedicated Facebook bitching group has likened it to Walmart throwing you out and refusing to serve you; they are perfectly within their rights to do so. However, if I went into Walmart and bought a load of stuff, and then they ordered me to drop it and leave, and refused to refund me, that would be more comparable to what is happening here. Members are having their paid subscriptions cut short and are being refused any explanation or refund, and that is, quite simply, theft.

Now, the SG terms of service have been very carefully worded so that they can, essentially, kick people out for no reason without refunding them, or in the case of models, without deleting or paying for their nude photographs. That doesn't mean we can't kick up a stink about it.

One more thing. Read this from the site FAQ:

Having a public profile that allows you to post to the boards is a right that is very easily lost. The general rule of thumb is do not scare or make uncomfortable any other members or SuicideGirls and do not make the jobs of the people who work on this site harder then need be. Do not make racist or sexist remarks. Do not attempt to hack the site or run scripts on the site. Do not use a fraudulent credit card when joining the site. Do not violate our TERMS OF SERVICE. 

One member contacted a friend who had left the site some years previously to inform them that their profile was visible on the beta site. This individual is German. Read the official response from the SG staff here.

We may not have any chance of a lawsuit for our treatment on the site, but I think this might warrant some legal action.

2 comments:

  1. SuicideGirls have blocked all SG Suicide Girls Affiliates without notice, see: http://www.havenvideo.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=82281

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The whole site is fucked, by all accounts.

      Delete