Like everyone else, I imagine, I’ve been bombarded for years from e-mail spam from Classmates.com and Reunion.com. I’ve dutifully ignored this crap. My general logic has always been that the companies who offer genuine products and services might send out advertisements, but they don’t have to spam the hell out of everybody. It’s a simple equation: spam = scam.
Reunion.com has been sending me something that finally got me to go over there and take a look. They’ve been sending me messages for weeks that claim someone named Carol Beck has been trying to add me, and asking me to confirm the relationship. As you may know, my older brother whom I’ve never met is named Jay Beck, and his mother’s name is Carol. That’s a hell of a carrot to dangle in front of someone.
Against my better judgment, I finally went over to Reunion.com just to see what the spiel was. Since I rotate my e-mail addresses every year and am about to retire the ones I’m using now, I went ahead and registered for a free account. After all, even if they start drowning me in spam, I’m about to delete the account. It’s New Year’s Eve.
Anyway, upon registering, the first thing I noticed was that there was no mention whatsoever of this Carol Beck who was trying to get in touch with me. Wow. Big surprise there, huh? All I found was that the owner of Reunion.com was in my friends list, and he’s keen on the idea that I should really upgrade to a Premium (read “pay”) account. Sorry, Charlie. No sale.
I didn’t really expect that Reunion.com was on the level, and I’d never give them a dime. Hell, all you have to do is Google the phrase “reunion.com scam” to find out what a joke this web site is. What intrigued me was how they came up with the name “Carol Beck”. Was that just a fluke? A coincidence? Or did some pathetic worm at reunion.com have the time to go digging through my blogs to find key words to include in these spam messages? If so, that’s kind of scary. But given the amount of determined people who spam blogs and forums with comments even though they have to register with each blog and forum, I shouldn’t be surprised that one of these maggots took the time to get to know me personally enough to know which key words to hit.
I suppose if anything amazes me, it’s that some people actually believe that if they harass the shit out of you, or attract your attention on false pretenses, you’ll still give them your money. Someone must give them money. Otherwise, there’d be no motivation to go through this much trouble, would there?
I’ve read on the Internet that some people claim Classmates.com is better. But from my impression, they’re just as big of a joke. My evidence? Well, essentially the same thing as with Reunion.com. A month or so ago I signed up for a free account at Classmates.com, thinking that I’d be able to look through the site and see what people I knew had registered for an account. Unlike Reunion.com, I was able to look at a good bit of information with a free account, and see just which of my old high school buddies were on there. Sure, I’d have to pay for an account to contact them through Classmates.com, but there was no one on there I’d want to be in touch with, anyway.
Where the Classmates.com scam came into focus was the almost daily e-mails I got (11 messages since I registered the account on December 6th), telling me about how my old classmates are supposedly talking about me on the forums and searching for me, and how some are supposedly trying to get directly in touch with me. How would I accept contact with all of these people? Why, by upgrading to a pay account, of course, upon which time I’d be given full access to all of these people who are trying to find me.
Want to know the catch; the one thing which makes me laugh about all this? I registered my account as Wicasta Lovelace. Anyone who went to school with me would not be looking for Wicasta Lovelace. No one knew me by that name back then. I went by my first name, Kevin, in my school days, and I used my step-father’s surname, Childers. So if anyone was looking for me, they’d be looking for Kevin Childers, not Wicasta Lovelace. The point? Classmates.com’s assurances that my old high school buddies are looking for me is a lie. There is no way dozens of people from my old high school have been searching for “Wicasta Lovelace”.
To a lot of people, the idea that Classmates.com and Reunion.com are scams, at least of a sort, is a “duh” factor. But a lot of people get caught up in this crap, looking for old friends, relatives and classmates. We all want to reconnect to our past in some way. Personally, I think it’s ghoulish that there are people out there who have found ways to profit from that innate desire in people, just as I think it’s unconscionable for the maggots at Ancestry.com to lock down all those databases of genealogy information and census reports, and then charge people for even the most basic information. But I suppose as long as there have been human beings, there have been people who’ve found ways to charge people for their hopes.
The only reason I wrote this is that I’ve noticed that when you write things like this, they tend to have long lives on the Internet. Hopefully at some time in the future if someone is motivated enough to Google phrases such as “reunion.com scam”, this page will come up as one of the results. Hopefully, they’ll save their money and their time, and they won’t fool around with such laughable ideas as Reunion.com and Classmates.com.
Hopefully they’ll realize in researching such things that if they want to get in touch with old friends and distant relatives, there are plenty of free resources out there. I’ve kept in better touch with boatloads of distant relatives since discovering MySpace, and I’ve found quite a few old classmates on Facebook. Neither one cost me a dime.