I’ve been on the web for so many years and have profiles on so many sites, that I occasionally check my age to determine how long ago I joined one.
- The Internet Movie Database is one of the oldest, creating a profile in the mid-1990s on a different server of theirs, which is long gone and last associated with an email address I had in 1996. My current IMDb profile is from 2003 or 2004; it’s hard to tell as I didn’t immediately create reviews and write comments.
- My first Amazon.com purchase — a CD of Gaelic Storm, the “steerage band” from the Titanic movie — occurred Sept. 12, 1998.
- I joined eBay on Jan. 15, 1999, the web interface tells me. It looks like I bought several items (only seeing transaction ratings, not actual items) so am guessing was around the time I built my then-desktop computer, now used by my mom.
- While Facebook doesn’t tell me my start date, I know I began in late-2004, after I was given an .edu email address through grad school.
- I first networked on LinkedIn February 23, 2007.
- Yelping started in May 2007, the same month this blog began.
Curious when I joined classmates.com, the subject of a three-month-old blog post of mine about listening to customers online, which the friend-finding service did for me when responding to a Twitter message that led them to email me, I realized the data was neither publicly viewable on my profile nor in my account settings.
I signed into my classmates.com account and filled out a web form.
Several hours later, the “member care department” emailed me:
Hello Classmates Member,
Thank you for contacting Classmates Member Care. We’re more than happy to assist you.
In researching your request, I found that your membership has been created on January 1, 1970.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please reply directly to this email and we will be happy to assist you.
Surely, there was some mistake. I emailed back for clarification.
This time, the salutation was more personal:
Thank you for your reply.
I sincerely apologize for any frustration or inconvenience caused due to my previous correspondence. We updated our systems several years ago, and unfortunately cannot determine when you first signed up at Classmates. All we know is that it was sometime after Classmates was founded (and Al Gore invented the internet) and before 2004.
iIf you have any further questions or concerns, please reply directly to this email and we will be happy to assist you.
There’s a moral here. I don’t fault classmates for updating their systems, but if they can remember who my “friends” are, they can surely remember my join date and other account settings. No?
Oh, and the spelling error in the response is their error, not mine.
If I had to guess, I joined classmates in the late-1990s, around the time I joined eBay and Amazon. I’ll never know, it seems.
Thoughts? Have you run into similar situations with companies, online or off?