[LINK] Why Irkut ?
rene.lk at libertus.net
Mon Feb 9 11:43:12 EST 2004
"Irkut" - how very apt. Clever - whoever came up with that.
On Mon, 9 Feb 2004 07:42:03 +1100 Roger Clarke wrote:
>(1) Are people required to, or encouraged, to provide information
Yep, even before the other people have joined. Invitations to join come from:
Received: from unknown (HELO outbound.orkut.com)
and if an invitee doesn't want to join, just like spam, they are further
"click on the link below:
http://www.orkut.com/Unsubscribe.aspx?id=[ID number deleted]"
The invitee's personal information allegedly already belongs to Irkut under
the terms of service (see below).
Various blogs claim an invitee's name appears publicly on the inviter's pages
within the Irkut community before the invitee has accepted (or declined) the
Within Irkut one is encouraged to rate one's 'friends' as cool, or sexy, or
trustworthy. Irk. Also one is encouraged to rate people by publicly stating
that you are a "fan" of theirs. Junior high school stuff. Irk.
Two of the most outspoken critics/members, in public fora anyway, are:
>(2) What do the consumer rights aspects of the Terms of Service look like?
There aren't any consumer rights. All 'rights' belong to Irkut and members
must "indemnify orkut from and against any third party claim" etc etc.
All your data belong to Orkut, and Google, and their (unamed) "agents" (now
and in the future).
Under the terms, one permits Irkut to give all one's data (including any
messages etc you've written etc) to any entity for any purpose other than
"marketing purposes". Of course once the other entity has received the data,
they can give it to yet another entity for marketing purposes.
However, I don't think marketing purposes is necessarily the biggest worry,
Irkut will have a rich data source showing who knows who - useful for
identifying 'friends' of 'friends' of alleged terrorists, etc.
The terms also set out a how-to blueprint for the music industry mafia:
"It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that
comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If you believe that your
copyright has been infringed on orkut.com Service, please read the following
information for filing or responding to a notice of infringement. ..."
>(3) What are the privacy conditions like?
What privacy? What data security?
>(4) What factors ensure that the identity that a person builds
>within Orkut doesn't get linked to a stream of Google search-strings
>that define interests and enable inference of consumer profile?
None, all your data belong to Orkut and Google and their agents. They can do
whatever they like with it.
>(5) What's the business model now, and what's the business model
>likely to become?
As someone on one of the blogs points out, the invitation-only viral-marketing
means of getting people to join up is a marketer's dream. It (at least in
theory) ensures that all data collected will be about real world people, no
pseudonyms etc. Furthermore, because people are so curious (just look around
the blogs) about what goes on inside this wannabe secret society, numerous
invitees join up just to find out, then later want to 'delete' their account,
but apparently one can't just leave Irkut by clicking something like 'delete
my account', one has to send an email to someone at Irkut admin asking them to
delete it. Imo, only a naive person would believe that the data is in fact
'deleted' given all your data belong to Orkut.
Joining up reportedly requires filling in 5 or so pages of information about
"...right off it asks you some fairly personal questions: What is your
relationship style? What is your sexual orientation? Who are you living with?
What are your politics?
Later I find out by looking at other people's information that this is all
On Mon, 09 Feb 2004 09:11:08 +1100 Jan Whitaker wrote:
>I wonder too if there might be some 'bad feelings' in result from these
>things. I received my first plaxo request which didn't look at first to be
>a plaxo request. I thought it was a friend who really was updating
>contacts. When I saw that the return address was plaxo, I switched to my
>friend's personal address and declined from being included. I explained
>the problem of some services reserving the right to sell all this info as
>the 'asset' if they sell the business, so there is nothing to stop them
>selling to a marketing company or rebadging as one. I also pointed out
>that the optout option on the email wasn't satisfactory because all that
>does is confirm a live address.
Imo, there's a very high possibility that Irkut could cause bad feelings to be
felt by the inviter or the invitee. Imo, its viral marketing invitation
process is socially inept. An invitee who doesn't want to join is placed in
the socially awkward position of having to, in effect, tell their friends and
acquaintances something like, "hey look, you may think this thing's the
greatest thing since sliced bread, but I think it's irkky and ickky. What's
more I'm really quite annoyed that you've given my personal information to
Irkut without my consent given they contend a right to do just about anything
they want with it".
To anyone who was considering inviting me, please just don't.
Anyone who's already sent me an invitation, and who happens to be subscribed
to this list (lurking or otherwise), can regard this as my response.
Impersonal? Yep, just like the impersonal autobot messages irkut members send
out. Btw, those messages say, inter alia:
"To find out why [deleted name] thought you'd enjoy orkut ... click on the
http://www.orkut.com/Join.aspx?id=[ID number deleted]"
so, one can't even find out why without confirming to Irkut that one has
received and read their autobot message. Irk.
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