Undelete-able account fixed.. sort of
It really bothers me when a web service allows no way to delete your account. My classic example of this is AIM. Once you register an account, it's there for life. AIM offers absolutely no way to delete an account and never has. They also do not expire accounts either. If you registered an AIM chat account way back in 2001, guess what? It's still there.
For most people this isn't a problem, but for me it's about the principle of the whole thing. Okay, so you let me sign up, but now I cannot delete the account, nor can I ever? Seriously, that's just messed up.
Here's a short list of sites. Ones with YES mean you can delete your account and ones with NO mean you cannot.
- AIM (NO)
- Yahoo! (YES)
- Windows Live/MSN/Hotmail (YES)
- Google/Gmail (YES)
- Craigslist (NO)
- Flixster (NO)
- WordPress (NO)
- MeetUp (YES)
- MySpace (YES)
- Opera Link (NO)
- ICQ (NO)
- Trillian (NO)
- Twitter (YES)
- Vimeo (YES)
- Any forum (NO)
You might be wondering what "any forum" is. It literally means any forum. If someone self-hosts their own forum, chances are whatever software they use has absolutely no ability to let any user delete their account.
In fact, I have a forum account (on a forum-software web site no less) that was originally created back in 2005 that I can't get rid of. Sigh.
The story I have here is a weird one, but I guess the Internet wouldn't be the Internet without its weirdness from time to time. This one's about BlogTalkRadio.
On March 14, 2009 I signed up for a BlogTalkRadio account, but never used it. I know the original signup date because I have the original signup email. (Incidentally, this is why you should never delete emails - because sometimes you need to retrieve info from them.)
In earlier 2010 I decided to attempt and delete all the accounts I have out there that I don't use anymore, one of them being BlogTalkRadio.
I thought I deleted the account, but yet a Google search still showed I had a profile page on that site.
What's THAT doing there? I thought I deleted this..
I sent a support email on July 8, 2010 requesting help to permanently delete the account.
That email was never answered.
Being the site still showed a profile, I tried logging in with my old username/password. The system stated it couldn't log me in. I requested a password reset totally expecting it not to work, and I was right, it didn't work.
Then I had a thought:
I wonder what would happen if I tried to sign up again using the same email address and username?
Guess what - it worked. I was able to get back into the account even though it was supposedly deleted.
This... just confuses the crap out of me because it shouldn't have worked at all, yet it did.
I'm not complaining because at least I now have control over the profile I have there, which is just a blank thing with no content. It's nothing worth seeing, but the point is that I have control over it now whereas I didn't before.
I made no attempt this time to lookup how to delete the account, because if it didn't work the first time, it probably wouldn't work this time around either. I figured the best thing to do is just to keep the account active (I have the credentials in my password manager) and just let it sit there.
More often than not I'm finding that it's the smarter maneuver just to keep an account active that is "blanked" and dormant rather than make any attempt to delete it. It's annoying to have to do this, but at least you have control over any public information that account may show.
There was nothing on the profile there that bothered me. The point is that I thought I deleted the account, but that didn't happen. It was a like a half-deleted, half-not-deleted thing going on. Very messed up.
Yeah, I got it fixed, but.. the whole thing of how I regained control over it was just weird.
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