For What It’s Worth…(Something’s Happening Here)


This is a bit of a sidestep from the original intent of Lifeboat, but as it may have a very direct bearing on the future direction of FooPets, it bears examination.

The most recent series of “improvements” to the site – or at least to the TOS – have been in the interest of bringing it into compliance with the restrictions mandated for a VA site catering to children under 13…which would appear to be the new target market.

Aside from the effect of these abrupt modifications on the over-13 membership (i.e. those for whom the site was originally designed), this attempt to retrofit rather than creating a new, separate “FooPets Jr.” site for youngsters – a far more sensible and workable alternative – is quite likely to not only alienate their existing membership but repel their new audience of choice as well…as the vast majority of profiles sporting off-site links belong to those very youngsters the across-the-board ban is supposed to be benefiting/protecting. I would anticipate they will find this abrogation of what they will quite justifiably see as their rights considerably more upsetting than anything they might see in an outside link on FooPets.

First, we have the issue of  “not all links are created equal”. These very same TOS require source-crediting of images used – the lion’s share of which involve a link to the host site where they were created, generally by the posting member. So…which TOS regulation are we supposed to honor? Not to mention the fact that the TOS of most image hosting sites require their site coding remain in place. But it has been publicly stated that all images must be hotlinked – with directions for how to do so posted by an ambassador.

Then we have the links to sites like KibbleCat/Dog and the ASPCA, which fall under the umbrella of FooMojo’s mandate to support RL pet charities, and the (tacitly) site-approved “trophies” which are intended to reward members for rank achievements, all of which are linked to the issuing sites – which is how those entitled to display them are supposed to find them in the first place. This category could also include member-created awards for outstanding service to the FooCommunity, all of which link back to whatever graphics protocol was used to make them.  There are no doubt numerous other examples of innocuous and constructive offsite links that warrant an exemption.

The existence of a FooMart YouTube “television” kind of knocks the wind out of their objection to that venue…one of the few that might allow an enterprising youngster to see something they shouldn’t – though we seriously doubt that banning links to YouTube videos on FooPets will stop those same youngsters from finding some other way to access them.  This, therefore, falls under the heading of  “pointless – the horse is already out of the barn”.

The conclusion inevitably reached is that the attempt to ban all links indiscriminately is at best poorly thought out, and difficult if not impossible to enforce evenhandedly. If nothing else, the placement of the official decree in Member Support rather than Announcements (and even there, the ban is not spelled out clearly, but incorporated into an “update of the rules/TOS” – and the mention of the newly added restriction on “third-party links”,  their justification for the ban, is not highlighted or detailed in any way : Admin in the person of Corie simply planted the bomb and left it for the ambassadors to handle…badly, from what we are hearing) guarantees it will be seen only by a few, and the implications grasped by even fewer. Anyone not involved in a “party line” of communication with other more Forum-involved members will never hear of it until – if the threats are made good – they are suspended. And heaven help those who are on hiatus – they will return to find a closed account and foosheltered pets with no idea what happened or why.

(sigh) We were hoping that the new guns at FooMojo would have more insight into what does and does not work for what used to be a thriving, unique, and enjoyable VA site…not less.

* – update…as 0f 1/26/11 – in a supposedly “current” version which matches those clickable from Corie’s post in User-Supported Support – the TOS say absolutely NOTHING about “third party links”. While they do have the usual waffling about being entitled to enforce rules before they are made – or at least published – there is  no mention of  off-site links other than the standard boilerplate about  profit and proselytizing.  Hmm…

(see One Swell Foop for more details…and just for luck, we have grabbed date- and time-tagged screenshots of both Corie’s post and the Terms it accesses)

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. thanks – as a non-chat person i have all meebo’s disabled so did not happen to notice, last thing i saw was that foolish mascara and the beach bunnies…meebo makes no pretense of being a G-rated service, and FP was aware of this when they went the cheap route and used it rather than creating one of their own (or simply not bothering with IM…i personally find it more nuisance than aid). this is highly ironic as inappropriate exposure was their entire “legal” rationale for the third-party link ban : which, by the way, has NOT been dignified by addition to the TOS – as a matter of fact, the reference to them i remember seeing in the past has been expunged. all that remains is the standard, find-it-anywhere CYA about not selling stuff or promoting joining or contributing outside groups.

  2. i think you may find it interesting that the roll over ads in the bottom left had corner through meebo on foo are showing ads for KY intense. i don’t see how foo mojo can continue to target kids and a younger auidience while allowing meebo to show ads about KY intense on foopets. i wrote about it in the beta thread and someone was sort of defending foo over it and just trying to blame meebo. i think foo can not use ignorance if that is what is occurring as an excuse especially when foo figures they have the right to monitor meebo chats anyway.


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