Friendster has a new feature...you can  OCT 05 2005

Friendster has a new feature...you can tell who has looked at your profile (feature is on by default and you can turn it off...if you're even aware of it in the first place). If I still used Friendster (not that I ever really did), I'm not sure how I would feel about this. On the one hand, you can tell if someone's interested in you (that guy you just met at the bar found your page as soon as he got home), but on the other hand, you might not want the girl you have a crush on to know you're obsessively reloading her page to check for updates. (Also, imagine if they added this to LiveJournal...)

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friendster   privacy   socialnetworking

There are 19 reader comments

99000026 05 200512:26PM

on the first day the feature appeared, a friend told me he was already being stalked. haha. creepy feature. and weirder than the typing awareness feature in the Trillian messenger.

Adrian51 05 200512:51PM

A online dating site I use (sigh) has this. For online dating it's quite good, I think. At least you know the person across the (virtual) bar is checking you out.

Del Shimandle53 05 200512:53PM

Typo Jason? "...might not want..."

Joe Grossberg00 05 2005 1:00PM

JDate has had it for years.

patrick10 05 2005 1:10PM

that typing awareness feature is one of the best things i appreciate in trillian. when i have a face-to-face conversation with someone, subtle facial gestures signal when they're in the middle of a thought and i should let them finish. over other im clients, it's easy to interpret any pause as an opening to reply (and interrupt train of thought) but with trillian, i can have conversations that follow natural speaking patterns.

Jason S Spidle16 05 2005 1:16PM

last.fm does this if you make a donation. As for the perception that you might be stalking someone, it's not like it says how many times you've loaded the page, just that you did. So stalk on.

Ramanan34 05 2005 1:34PM

I can also picture people who are particularly shy perhaps enjoying a feature such as this. If you do not have the nerve to talk to someone, even in an online setting, then this would allow you to make your presence known to the other party in a very subtle way. It may induce them to initiate contact with you, instead of you having to initiate contact with them. You don't have to put yourself in a vulnerable position.

Also, could you not set up a dummy friendster account, email address, web site, etc., to do all your cyber stalking with?

Bob Smith41 05 2005 1:41PM

I think this is an invasion of privacy.

bobsmith@paris.mailchannels.com

Shay00 05 2005 2:00PM

iam.bmezine.com has that feature (or at least, had it. My membership expired a couple of years ago,) but would require the profile's owner to explicitly set it on, and would warn viewers every time before it would log them, giving them a chance to back out.

Joshua Blankenship08 05 2005 2:08PM

By removing the anonymity factor, I think Friendster might have just shot itself in the foot. (Not that they haven't been doing that already.)

Pat Winchell54 05 2005 2:54PM

well since apparently you can turn it off and gain full anonymity, this is a great feature.
it's basically an equivalent of glancing on a social network.

janelle28 05 2005 3:28PM

i think it's an interesting feature. invading privacy? nobody is putting information online they don't want others to see. as for people viewing anonymously, what's the use? paranoid? ashamed? when all viewing was anonymous, i didn't really consider who might be reading my profile, other than friends/acquaintances, and the handful of guys i'd never consider dating sending me messages. but now that i can see i've had "166 views since 10/01/05" and only 59 of those are visible (do multiple views from the same user count toward the 166?), that kind of creeps me out. on the other hand, any cute, slightly dorky, design-oriented kottke.org readers living in new york city: i'm "single" and interested in meeting people for "relationship men, dating men, friends, activity partners".

L05 05 2005 4:05PM

Eh. StumbleUpon (also Last.Fm) has had the "Recent Visitors" feature from the beginning - it's a great way to check out other people's Stumbles. I always thought it was nifty.

Ryan28 05 2005 4:28PM

Friendster is definately on the out. I'm not really sure why as I've never signed up, every time I ask about it, people say "Don't bother." Aside from this is there any real reason other than shifting tides of public concensus on what's 'cool'? Have they changed?

-Ryan

kellan21 05 2005 5:21PM

I predict any potentially interesting information this "feature" produces will quickly be drowned by in a wave of spam profile viewings.

Philipp Lenssen24 05 2005 7:24PM

I think OpenBC premium membership has this feature as well. (It's a popular business networking service, at least in Germany.) I'm no premium member, but I strongly suspect this to be the case because the first time I visited their site after a long time and registered, and after I browsed the resumee of my ex-colleague, same ex-colleague immediately send me a message via OpenBC.

m35 05 200511:35PM

Thank god my ex-girlfriend is only on myspace.

Stuart43 06 2005 1:43PM

IM Chaos' LinkSpy (http://www.imchaos.com/) allows a similar feature that lets you view the location and number of times a particular screen name has clicked on a link from your AIM profile.

Elsie Samson20 11 2005 1:20PM

Interesting about Friendster -- changes things a bit.

Memry is neat -- always a good game for those of us with the visual memory :).

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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