Monday, 25 April 2011

Empire Avenue p0wns you

There's been a bit of buzz about Empire Avenue these days.Quite a few of my Twitter friends have signed up for it, one of who is Bernd Nurnberger. I had a conversation with him after he sent me an invite to join Empire Avenue.
I had my doubts about Empire Avenue, especially finding the "what's in it for me" - so I tried their About page:

Empire Avenue is the Social Media Exchange, where you can buy and sell shares in any social media profile, meet new people, unlock Achievement badges, and earn boatloads of virtual cash by being active and social online! Buy shares in your friends, your followers, people with similar interests, brands you love, celebrities – anyone! All using a virtual currency and all for free!

Basically, that satisfied my curiosity - after going for the bucket

I don't use the word hate. I don't even say that I hate to use the word hate - but I'm fed up with marketing manoeuvres like this - and appalled that they invade our social media world and that people I respect join them - without reading the Terms Of Service (TOS)

Empire Avenue's TOS? Quite a read. 5484 words in total, that would be 10 blog posts for me: I keep a minimum of 500 words for each. By the way, there's another 1385 words in their privacy policy, which is part of their TOS. Oh and then there's their Rules policy, another 3079 words, and in the end some of that depends on your Privacy settings which you can only access when - signed up and joined

Apart from that, there are TOS for advertisers and marketeers, and I'm not even going there

Whatever happened to the simple life? A lot

Here's the crucial part of Empire Avenue's TOS:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, such as photos and videos ("IP content"), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your Privacy Settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with the Web Site ("IP License"). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content and/or your account unless your content has been shared with others and they have not deleted it.
  2. You grant Empire Avenue the right to share User Content , data , and derivates of them (such as compatibility metrics) with advertisers and other registered users as specified by the Privacy Policy and your Privacy Settings

By default, that means that everything you put on or through EA, is theirs - and theirs to sell to others. "Unless your content has been shared with others and they have not deleted it" - yeah right, how many lifetimes will it take to prove that?
We the people own the right to be told in bold, if not red, if not CAPS, at the very beginning of every TOS, whether they infringe on our reasonable, to be expected, rights - either that or they need to be maximised to 500 words so we'll finally start to read them

RTFTOS - before you sign up

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