I try out new web applications once in a while and most of the time I am shocked to see that a majority of them do not allow me to download an archive of my activity on their website. Not even a log of what I did since I registered. Moreover, these websites don’t even offer me the feature to delete my account on their website.
Having been developing applications for quite sometime I know that making the above possible is not a matter effort but more about what these application owners wish to do with our data.
A couple of days back, I was trying out some applications for creating mock-ups, when I didn’t like the application after trying it I thought of deleting my account but I was not very surprised to see that there was no option to delete it. I am not sure why that option was there but I can only think of two possibilities. One of the cases can be that the developer forgot to implement such a feature or never rolled it out. And the other which is the more plausible one is that the owners didn’t want users to delete their accounts from their websites. I stopped using these websites and quickly forgot about them until I got a newsletter from them. Now, I was reminded of the fact that I created an account over there once but then I couldn’t delete it. All I could do was unsubscribe from the newsletter which is pretty stupid because they have my information.
Another case was when I couldn’t change the email account associated with an application and couldn’t retrieve my old username because of that. Even after mailing the support and talking to them for days, the change never happened.
The most classic example of change of username I have seen is regarding Last.fm. I have tried contacting their support and even spoken to people who are ready to volunteer and help out in creating the feature to allow change of usernames but nothing seems to happen. They answered me with a strict no without any explanations.
Another case regarding usernames is of Twitter. There are thousands of inactive users who have just taken up a username and haven’t even logged in for over an year, yet we don’t get the opportunity to take up their username. I am not sure why this is the case. Questions have been raised on the dev forum on Twitter but I am not sure if something is going to happen. One of them happens to be regarding auctioning of usernames.
I have been able to get my account deleted from some applications before, but it takes effort to do that. I need to contact support and then request the change and only sometimes will the change happen. I find all of this ridiculous because it doesn’t make sense. I mean is this the price users need to pay for a free service?
I hope things will be better for us in the future.