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I’ve Been Conscripted

I’d been thinking of doing a series of just plain odd things that happen in everyday life. You know fiction has to make sense. There are all these rules and regulations about what can and can’t happen in a given story. There must be a certain amount of logic. If there isn’t than people will not read your book.

Life is a horse of a different color. There is no rhyme, reason, or logic behind some of the things that happen. You know what I’m talking about- those times when things happen, and you wonder whether or not you’re being punked! This will most likely not be a weekly thing. I will post the stories on a Wednesday, but I’ll post them as they happen. So on to the story.

No doubt you are all aware of social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace- not unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years. You know the drill. You sign up for an account, have the site email everyone you know, then friend people, change your status, add photos (that have no business being anywhere on the internet), message your friends, etc. Of course on Facebook, you have all the annoying applications that your friends keep sending you.

For good or ill, these sites are here to stay. The one redeeming quality about these sites is that they are VOLUNTARY. Even if your friend has Facebook send you an invite, it is still up to you whether you want to join. Neither application signs you up.

But there’s a new kid on the block who apparently thinks that they are so important that they have the right to not only sign you up with an account, but choose at least one friend for you. Who would dare, you ask. None other than the Leaky Cauldron.

So Harry Potter, as much as I enjoyed the series, was a fad- a lucrative one- but still a fad. Some fansites made a boat load of money by being super fans. Mugglenet and the Leaky Cauldron being two of the largest. Emerson Spartz, the webmaster of Mugglenet, was quoted in a magazine article as saying that he made six figures off his website. I’m not sure if this was per year or not. I can only imagine that Leaky Cauldron was equally lucrative. These sites may have had sponsors, but they primarily made their money through Pay Per Impression Ads. So basically, you didn’t have to click on the ad, they made a certain percentage for each page load.

Anyway, since Deathly Hallows has been published, the Harry Potter fandom has been drying up. So profits have been steadily declining on both sites. Oh the WB/JKR vs. RDR books probably gave the sites a boost, but once that was done there really isn’t much else to talk about. In an effort to stave off the inevitable, the Leaky Cauldron created MyLeaky, which is basically Harry Potter myspace. Here’s the kicker, instead of Ms. Anelli announcing it and letting people register, she in her “wisdom” hath seen fit to create accounts for the hapless fans who created accounts in years past without their permission. She’s also rigged it so that she is your friend. Oh did I mention that you can’t un-friend her. Yeah, I tried- repeatedly. The worst bit is that since she is your “friend” if you have the great misfortune to log into your site, you have to read about her daily exploits on MyLeaky. Allow me to subject you to illustrate the Purgatory delights to which I am daily treated.

“HI MOMMY!”

“OK, mom, you just made a parchment post without my help. I am loving this.”

Melissa Anelli just added her wand to her profile. You should too!

“This is my sister, everyone. :D”

“Now everyone tell me John and Frak didn’t do something amazing work right here. LOL. I busted a gut this morning laughing. “

“How can it be cheating when there was never a rule in place.” The ones who sent it to themselves were cheating; the ones who sent out the invites legitimately were not. However, to make it fair to the 99.999999% of people who use the site, who DID NOT cheat, “everyone” was limited to their 10 invites. If it affects everyone, then the very real cheating that did go on doesn’t disadvantage anyone. If no one had cheated, we wouldn’t have had to do anything, but it’s far more unfair for one out of thousands to benefit, than for an even rule to unfortunately deduce some points from those who didn’t. In the future we’re going to have a better way of measuring referrals, and will be able to take off the limit.”

I’ll stop there. If I had her life, I’d kill myself. I’m sorry, I know that it’s mean. But I didn’t ask to be given an account; I didn’t ask to be friended. I know on Facebook you have to read about the minutae of other people’s lives, but I chose that.

I am upset. Just because I signed up to participate in a discussion forum does not me that I consent to have the forum create a glorified Myspace account in my name. What, are we in a Communist state where we are forced to do someone’s bidding? Just because a website is desperate for more traffic doesn’t give those running it the right to invade people’s privacy in this fashion.

Worse still, Ms. Anelli claims on http://www.leakynews.com when she announced the unveiling of this misery, that there were already 75,000 members. Of course she failed to mention that she conscripted greater than 90% of the membership. Oh did I mention that Pay Per Impression Ads generally require that you have a certain amount of web traffic? Did I mention that Harry Potter fandom is bleeding members? Yup that 75,000 looks a lot better than the 100 or so die hards who actually hang around the site.

Clearly Ms. Anelli is not familiar with the works of Aesop. There’s a fable entitled “The Butcher and His Customers.” The moral of that fable is that prevarication often amounts to lying.

So wish me luck. I’m trying to find out a way to delete this unwanted account. I will let you know if and when I succeed.

So what about you? Has anyone signed you up for an unwanted social networking account?

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