Soured on Swap-Bot



Swap-Bot decided to change / update some of their policies, one of which being that you now have to have a permanent and unchangeable username to log in to your account, rather than the old way which was you had a "display name" tied to your email address, and I dunno I guess that was changeable? I wouldn't know 'cause I originally signed up as gem and never even thought about changing it.

No big deal right? Except for the fact that the notice for this (and the few other changes) was posted to the Swap-Bot blog YESTERDAY and implemented some time this morning? Or overnight? I'm not sure exactly when, I only know that by the time I arrived at maybe 10 AM my time I was surprised to find this out (on my log-in screen, no less -- there was no announcement on the home page, and unless you make a habit of reading the blog or forums daily before you log in you'd never know about it until signing in), and

-moment of panic set in-
tried to claim the username gem
DENIED >> that name has already been taken

Normally something like that doesn't bother me too much - gem is a kinda common nickname around the 'net and I'm more often quite surprised when I manage to snag it than not - BUT. My major problems in this instance are these:

The timing from posting of notice to implementation : No real heads up given that this would be happening, most places give you quite a bit of advanced notice when they are going to be making major changes like this. And this IS a major change -- anyone who has been online any length of time knows full well how attached people get to their screen names and how difficult having to "reinvent" themselves with a different name can be. BOO to Swap-Bot for missing the boat here. I could be less bummed about it if they would have said a week ago "Hey people, on or around X date we will be making this change. If you want to secure your current name, please be sure to get here early" etc etc blah ... If I'd missed out because we all knew and I just didn't get in in time thats one thing, but because it was sorta a sprung-on-you thing, I wasn't even aware until it was too late. And that brings me to the other part, which almost bothers me more ...

I've used the name gem on Swap-Bot for over a year - since I first signed up. The person who now has PERMANENT claim on the name gem previously had a very similar name - I know this because we were both just in a blog link swap (not as partners though) and they also just as recently added me to their contacts in Flick'r. So, they were certainly aware that I went by gem over there, and I am not saying they "stole" "my" name since I obviously don't own it (I'm not that egomaniacal) but it came off as pretty rude / inconsiderate to me, someone who'd been there 6 months less and who very recently had some kind of contact with me, to have swiped the name out from under me, just 'cause they happened to get there first (see reason #1). Well, thats what it feels like anyway: swiped, stolen, hijacked. 'Specially since this person has a very cute Flick'r name that could have been used instead. SIGH.

It's just I am very heavily tied to this name and identity -- it's really pretty much become my name since I sign every piece of art and every posting and all email and online correspondance with it. And it's really who I am online. So, it kinda hurts to have it taken away in such a ... sneakish feeling manner. Glad I saved a little memento before they got everything updated:

I am now "gemgirlart" at Swap-Bot, not that I intend to be joining in any new swaps for the time being, I need to soothe my hurt (lets be real, huh?: mostly angry) feelings - besides, there's other places I can trade at where I'm still "me" so - their loss really, not mine. -wink-

~ gem ~

-= waves ya on through =-

Well, what a difference a day makes! I received an email from Rachel at Swap-Bot this morning that my username there has been changed back to gem ... She explained that they worked together with the other member and changed us both back to our previous names. How this came about I really don't know as I did not email Swap-Bot requesting anything be done about it - either they or the other member initiated it I guess based on this posting or the one on the S-B blog ... Either way I am really grateful to both parties, and I think it was just the right thing to do in this case. I stand by my complaint that the original process was badly organized, but the fact that Swap-Bot stepped up, unasked, and fixed this just proves what personal dedication they have to the site and their members. So thank you VERY MUCH! All's well that ends well, etc etc yadda.

*and for anyone who might be thinking "geez, get a grip, it's a name on a website for cryin' out loud" ... Yeah, I know. But like I said earlier, this IS who I am online in my little corner, so it actually matters to ME. Like I related to Rachel in my email reply, to me it felt much like if I'd logged in to my eBay account to find the name I'd used and built trust and recognition into for years and was still currently using! was suddenly given away to someone else, all because I didn't get up early enough to find out about it? Blindsided, to say the least ...

And with that - have a good day!

~ gem, again ~