Practice Sessions / Joseph Dunphy:
There are a lot of nice photos to be found on Vi.sualize.us. I wouldn't deny that, and given that is a social bookmarking site, one might think of it as being an obvious place to recommend to Stumbleupon users, even more so now that photos can't be posted to our blogs, if you can still call them that, any more. However, having been one of their users, I can't recommend them as a service.
The problem is that they would seem to be untrustworthy. Last year, some of us were unpleasantly surprised to discover that adult images and pictures taken for the purposes of advertising had suddenly appeared in our feeds, in the sidebars of some of our blogs, and been automatically tweeted out. The staff insisted that this was all a coding error, but as we all know by now, sex draws in traffic. The porn was bound to make some visitors curious and more likely to bring their friends, and as for the advertising? If money changed hands, would we know? It all looked fishy, and there certainly could be no question that this had become a problem for us as users, the adult images presenting a TOS issue for those of us who'd used our badges or been tweeting our feeds.
This year, we had another delightful surprise. Without warning, Vi.sualize.us suddenly buried our profiles and all of our outbound links, meaning that while we were still feeding traffic into Vi.sualize.us from our other pages, no traffic was being returned. We weren't even told about this after the fact. The company simply left us to discover on our own the reciprocal linking between our pages and profiles wasn't as reciprocal as we had been led to think it would be, creating navigability issues on our pages.
I went to the mail form for the site to write to the staff about this, and found that the mail form didn't work. This was not completely a surprise, as it has broken before, but this time, it was exasperatingly convenient for a company which, having seen good faith out of me and its other users, saw no reason to return that good faith.
That's two strikes against them. I guess I could wait for the third, but we're not playing baseball. I'll be cutting all links to VisualizeUs at my earliest convenience and recommend that you do the same, if you have an account with them.
I won't delete my bookmarks with them. There's no reason for me to do so - I'm not hosting anything on their site other than a few brief remarks, the bookmarks help me find images that I like, and they send well deserved traffic to people who've done beautiful work. But I am going to think about looking for a competing service to replace them, or possibly just giving up on image bookmarking, period.
How do I know that if I take the time to create a new presence on a competing network, that my new provider won't turn around and do the same thing? What do I do, then - move again?