kung fu grippe


  1. Last Word for a While on Loopt

    [Recap: First I asked this and then I said this and then I ranted this and recently I said this.]

    How can I never receive another Loopt SMS invitation ever?
    (Long comment full of strong detective work by Kathryn)

    Kathryn delivers a stunning rain of questions from real-world testing against The Ridiculous Loopt Problem. Which apparently is still alive and well, despite Loopt’s Happy Fun Posts on how efficiently they keep fixing the stuff that’s not at the heart of their dreadfully broken machine; lack of dependable, automatic, safeguards against nuisance SMS abuse. Surprised that you even have to ask for this? “Cowboy up,” say your pals at Loopt.

    Kathryn wrote:

    I just signed into Loopt.com and was presented with the Invite Friends screen. I don’t currently see:

    • any explanation of what typing in a friend’s mobile number will do (trigger an SMS invitation)
    • any message preview of the SMS invitation my friend will receive (though there’s a preview of the email invitation)
    • any disclaimer that standard text messaging rates will apply (and my friend will be charged)
    • any disclaimer that someone who opted out of Loopt will not receive the SMS
    • any limits to how many times/how often I can invite someone to Loopt

    For example, I just logged into Loopt using another account, and from the home screen, invited my myself. Then I went to the Invite Friends page and invited myself again. Then I went back home and invited myself to Loop. Then I went to the Invite Friends page and invited myself again.

    On my phone I soon received 4 invitation text messages to Loopt within the space of two minutes.

    What a clusterfuck. How easy it would be to make this all go away:
    Shut off all SMS messaging to anyone who hasn’t previously agreed to Loopt’s service and terms, and responsibly throttle delivery for people who have. Period. Done.

    But Loopt says that’s not going to happen — despite clearly contravening the best practices espoused by the organization who granted Loopt their shortcode (and who, if I understand this correctly, also holds the power to withdraw that shortcode if they uncover patterns of abuse).

    Still, for whatever reason, despite excellent, good-faith feedback on fixing a problem they manufactured that’s helping build their userbase at our expense and stated annoyance, Loopt remains steadfastly confident that their overflowing eddy of crap smells like spearmint and supermodels.

    Loopt are dead wrong here and — since they show no interest in fixing the most fundamentally broken piece of their sad little stalkerbot — I’m taking my work to get it fixed offline. Where people who sit around all day waiting to go after junk like this can slake their thirst for Fixing Bad Things.

    As far as I’m concerned, their window for being a good actor has closed; from here on out they can start burning their own cycles to extricate whatever appendages that window has entrapped.