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Why I Hate hi5 (and why you should too)

By on Jun 26, 2006 in On A Whim | 9 comments

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These days, so MANY of my friends have been totally sucked in to the ‘spam vortex’ (that’s my own colorful term for it) of hi5.com, that I couldn’t bear it any longer. I’ve always been bombarded with messages inviting me to hi5, but it has reached a crescendo over the past few weeks that I can’t stand it any longer and MUST warn people against (possible) dangers.

Those who don’t know what it is, are very lucky. hi5 is a ‘social networking’ site (please read ‘spam’, lots of spam) that is pretty much the rage, at least in India. Which is why, I’m not going to tear apart other such sites like MySpace.com, Zorpia.com, Friendster.com etc, because although I do get invitations from friends on these sites, that is miniscule (and their privacy policies, I feel, are better). Nevertheless, I’m still not a member of these sites. The only site of a similar nature, yet better, that I look forward to joining is orkut (because it’s owned by Google), but alas, here my luck runs out because I never got an invite from anyone. This works to orkut’s advantage, because it keeps spammers out, and there’s at least one person to vouch for you. Hope someone does that to me!

Coming back to hi5, my first complaint is that user data is too easily available. Personal information is very easy to extract from this site. Enter any person’s name or email ID, and you get truckloads of information tumbling out. Spammers can easily confirm existence of possible email addresses, or just enter a few common names, and laugh the way to their email server with the address of users. Sure, even others like even Blogger make such information available to an extent, but users have far more control, and it doesn’t have a ‘come here and search’ link in bold letters on it’s main page.

That’s not my main grouse though. What really irked me was their Privacy Policy, and their Terms of Service. New readers to my blog please note, I’m that sort of a person who reads this documents, line-by-line, and I don’t sign up until I approve everything. Let me take you through some of the points, and their possible implications. I’m only reproducing certain extracts here, link is provided to the actual thing in case you want to see it yourself.

hi5 Terms of Service (ToS)

That was nothing yet. If that isn’t enough reason to leave, there’s more. Hang on have a look at their Privacy Policy. It’s all about how they’ll use they data they collect from you.

hi5 Privacy Policy

No need to panic if you’re a user of hi5. Just send a mail to support@hi5.com with the subject ‘account deletion’ and account details. And you’ll be freed from this. But I guess much damage would have been done already.

Apart from that, the sad fact is, that ‘social predators’ are as common as snow in Alaska on these sites. At least, MySpace took encouraging steps to stop this by roping in one the best online security experts (I’m in no hurry to join though). I’ve got an answer to hi5’s ‘Who’s In?’ tagline – ‘Spammers are in’.

P.S. – Are you an orkut user? Puhleassseeee send me an invitation.



9 Comments

  1. techboy

    June 26, 2006

    Post a Reply

    hey dude ! thanks for telling me about disadvantages about using hi5 and suggesting some other sites.

  2. Great Quizzard

    June 27, 2006

    Post a Reply

    I got an orkut invitation after this post, in fact, two. But I’d like to update this a bit.

    1. orkut is only for above 18.
    2. Their ToS ALSO says they’ll retain copyright; I’ll simply can’t have that.
    3. Interface is COOL.
    4. Better anti-spam measures; you can’t post without giving a few minutes gap, and I think email address is not publicly displayed.
    5. It’s a closed system, which may keep spammers out.

  3. Great Quizzard

    June 27, 2006

    Post a Reply

    In a VERY interesting thing I’ve noticed in orkut, it always gives me a sending error if I try to send invites to a Hotmail account, but it has no problems with Yahoo! or Gmail. A hangover from the time when searching for ‘more evil than Satan himself’ on Google turned up Microsoft’s home page? No comments. ;)

  4. Abhishek

    June 28, 2006

    Post a Reply

    Of course, any service that is in collaboration with Google has to be good. So here is Orkut, a very neat service and forum for neat people. And certainly not for the bums who spam people wanting to join their worthless groups which will get them nowhere but hell. Orkut the design needs to be improved, but as a service it is kinda excellent.

  5. angel

    March 5, 2009

    Post a Reply

    o my god i did not have any idea how using hi5 could be so dangereous…o god what to do? i have a big problem now i was actually trying to find my lost email id i used to use before on hi5 because i ve forgotten my login email but i do remember my password. what should i do now?please help me i need to delete my account now.

  6. Fill

    July 20, 2010

    Post a Reply

    Hey man,

    That’s exactly what I thought about hi5. Never joined it, even though I also received a lot of invitations from my friends. I am also the kind of person that reads the whole ToS and I knew about such bad policies from hi5.

    God, what can we do? People like it.. ^^ welcome to real world.

    btw, I never tried orkut, I don’t like social networks a lot, total waste of time imo…

    Nice post and blog.
    Keep up the good job,
    Fill

  7. Dave

    December 18, 2010

    Post a Reply

    Thanks man, for you information.
    Can’t believe it. more than four later hi5 still a grossly a social problem to the joy of using internet. I was unfortunate enough to aspect a nagging invitation of a dear friend, and before I could say “jack” my new brand email address specifically created for the joy social interaction of old friends was flooded with tens of emails everyday. The worse is even when I decided to apologize with my friend and delete the hi5 account, all my uploaded pictures are still on hi5 server, public available just be searching my name. My nightmare started after I wrote my fourth email requesting deletion of those picture and as usual received only a template email in return.

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