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things websites do that tick me off

As a guy who writes about internet stuff a lot, I have a lot of accounts. You would think that just a few short months away from 2011 that most sites wouldn't have these problems. But they do.

"Sorry! You can't change your email address here."

The only web service that shouldn't allow you to change your email address is the email address provider itself, like Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail. Otherwise, you should be able to change your registered address any time you want. Stickam still doesn't allow this. And for a ton of Twitter "enhancers" out there, they don't allow them either.

Y'know, people sometimes do change their email addresses from time to time.

"We didn't require require personal information before, but surprise! Now we do."

Let's say you signed up for something on the web 2 years ago. At the time, all that was required was a username and email address. That's it. Then when you go to login one day you're bombarded with info requests. PLEASE GIVE US YOUR BIRTH DATE. PLEASE TELL US WHERE YOU LIVE. PLEASE GIVE US YOUR PHONE NUMBER. No, no and eff'ing no. You didn't require this information before, why do I have to give it to you now?

For any website that has a free service does this to me, I put in false information and do so with a clear conscience.

"Link your account to [insert b.s. service here] to make our lives easier and yours more miserable."

This is when a website decides to "link" your account to something else. If you don't do it, you are nagged beyond belief. When the admins of the site realize the nagging isn't enough, they force you to link to the "better" system. This system isn't "better" at all because nobody had a problem with the way the old system worked and got along just fine with it.

"NEW DESIGN! Now we make it next to impossible to figure out how to change your password. Enjoy!"

If there's one thing all websites should do, it's that they should make it really, really easy to change your password. However, as more sites redesign themselves, they absolutely bury the password change option.

Okay, click on my profile name, and.. um.. I see "Settings" and "Preferences" but no "Account". Which do I click? Guess I'll just have to CLICK EVERY MENU UNTIL I FIND IT.


"You MUST our client to change your password. Can't do it on the website. Sorry!"

The best (or should I say worst) example of this is the Steam product. Never have they had any ability to change your password from their website directly. You absolutely must do it from within the Steam client. That's dumb.

Even dumber is the fact the place to change your password in the Steam client is buried.

Even dumber than that is that the client doesn't play nice with password managers, so you have to manually type in any password you decide to use.

"Our login box on our website changed to a TOTALLY COOL thing. Cool, huh?"

No, not cool, jackass.

When it comes to web pages that have login boxes for usernames and passwords, they should be simple, easy to type in and password manager friendly. There are several out there that aren't like this at all. You'll click "login" and get some fade-in crapola. The form will be in a tiny font, won't render correctly because the script broke, and force you to refresh the web page 5 eff'ing times just to login.

Email login screens are fine whether Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail or Gmail. Simple, easy, and they work.

Bad login screens do any one or more of the following:

You get the idea.

"Remember the free features you had? Now they're paid features."

Some websites realize there are very specific features users on the system use quite a bit, so they get the bright idea of "Hey, let's charge for this. It'll totally be awesome and we'll make piles of money!"

One of two things will happen at that point. The community will give a big ol' "SCREW YOU" and abandon the site quickly, or they'll meander around for a little while, realize not having the once-free stuff completely sucks, and then leave.

There are certain things worth paying for on the internet, but when a service decides to take away free features and charge for them, the users feel duped at that point - and in honesty they were. If you're gonna charge, make the "pro" account or whatever provide extra features and not simply charge for what was free before. Seems like common sense to me.


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