YouMe.Us – Relationship Advice Teen Dating Decisions Love Break Up Help

 I find this site to be an odd choice for anyone to make.  It bills itself as “If you have a relationship problem and don’t know where to turn for help, then YouMe.Us is for you! Simply post your issue with relevant photos and start receiving advice from the YouMe.Us community.”

  It is clearly targeted to teenage girls (yet one of the random images shown on the welcome page displays a picture of what appears to be a teenage girl (although zooming in on the image shows a wedding ring – I wonder if that was done intentionally?) picking petals off a flower – “He loves me… He loves me not…”

  This is absolutely the last area of social networking I would want to be involved with – the love lives of minors.  I actually find it almost mind-numbing that anyone would consider this a “safe” business to be in, especially since users are suggested to “Simply post your issue with relevant photos and start receiving advice from the YouMe.Us community.” Photos too?  Gads, it gets worse!

  In their “Help” section they have a question called, “What Issues are Appropriate?”.  The examples baffle me:

From the site:

3. What issues are appropriate?

Any relationship question or issue is welcome in the YouMe.Us community. The key is to phrase your questions in a clear, concise format so you receive the best possible advice.

Examples of good questions:

Should I break up with Tommy? (Yes/No)
Where should I take my date before the prom? (Multiple Choice)
What’s the best way to impress my boyfriend? (Open-Ended)

how to ask good question

Issues with photos receive many more votes and feedback than issues without photos. Be sure to add a photo to every multiple-choice answer, plus up to three additional photos for every issue or response.

   I expected the answer to the question was based on the question being about what kind of content is appropriate – but it’s really a different question.  They should have asked: “What Issues will get me the highest rating?”

 

  I reviewed their Privacy Policy, which includes a “Plain English Summary:

Privacy Policy in Plain English:

  1. We DO keep both personal and non-personal information.
  2. We won’t bother you unless you want us to.
  3. We won’t let anyone else bother you unless you want them to.
  4. You can always change or delete any of your personal information.
  5. Even if you allow us to bother you, you can always stop us at a later date.
  6. We won’t collect or keep any information about children.
  7. We won’t share your information, unless the police or the U.S. government forces us to.

 

They clearly state, “We won’t collect or keep any information about children. “, yet the detail of the full Privacy Policy states: “will not knowingly collect or use personal identifying information from children younger than 13.

Now I considered both my son and daughter to be children at 13 (and I still consider my daughter to be a child at 15!).  But not to worry – they have thought of this already, later in the full Privacy Policy:

6. PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF CHILDREN UNDER 13

No one under age 13 is permitted to provide any personal information to the Service or to use the Service. Service Provider does not knowingly collect any personal information from any child under the age of 13. Before registering for the Service, users are required to agree to the Service Terms which include an acknowledgement that the user is 13 years of age or older. By participating in the Service, the user is representing that he or she is 13 years of age or older and agrees to the Terms. If you are worried about your children’s activities or their privacy on the Service, please contact our Privacy Department at info(at)youme.us.

So don’t worry – no kid will ever read the privacy policy, and heck, it’s easy enough to enter whatever birth date when prompted, right?  So this clause has no validity other than an attempt at protecting their legal butts.  So what, you ask?  I agree – it’s a parental responsibility to monitor their children – but it is also a business’s responsibility to do the same (and to protect themselves from litigation) – that’s why adult magazines have a paper covers over them, or they are located behind the counter.   It reduces the likelihood that the business will get sued. This gets even worse when you click on the “I Agree to the Terms and Conditions” link on the Registration page you see the following:

Terms & Conditions in Plain English:

  1. The content on our site is ours unless otherwise noted – so don’t steal it.
  2. Don’t get mad at us if you don’t like what you see or read on our site.
  3. If something bad happens because of something written or posted on our site, you agree NOT to sue us!
  4. Don’t do or post anything illegal on our site.
  5. Anything you post on our site becomes ours, so don’t post anything you don’t own.
  6. We won’t share your personally-identifiable information without your permission.
  7. We aren’t responsible for any links to or from our site.
  8. If we don’t like you, we can prevent you from accessing our site.
  9. We hope children don’t use our site – but if they do, it’s not our fault.
  10. You agree NOT to sue us!
  11. Don’t lose your password.
  12. If anything in this document or on our site is illegal in your country, you can ask, but not force us to change it.

   Hmmm.  Look at number 9.  If I am a ten year old, does this tell me I can’t use the site?  Does it tell me what can happen to me if I do (not even a warning, “We’ll tell your folks”)?  They assume no liability and even worse no responsibility for ANYTHING, yet they are presenting a site that absolutely is catered towards children.

  Of course, the full Terms of Use uses a much stronger language in section 9:

9. USE BY CHILDREN UNDER 13

The Service is not intended for users under the age of 13, and Service Provider does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from users under the age of 13. The Service Provider does not encourage, solicit, or permit visitors who are known to be under the age of 13 to become a user of or visit the Service. The Service cannot guarantee users under the age of 13 will not visit the Service and must rely on the supervision of responsible parents, guardians, and those responsible for supervising children under 13 to decide which materials are appropriate for children to view. For more information, please see Service Provider’s Privacy Policy – Protecting the Privacy of Children Under 13.

So why not change the “Plain English Terms of Use” to simply say, “If you are under 13 you are not allowed to use this site”?

Simple – that’s their target audience, and they know damn well it is.

Finally, here’s an example of the “advise” given by one user to another:

Sounds like you’ve already been nice and sometimes we have to get a little n a s t y to get results… Talk to him sweet (like he’s a baby) and if he doesn’t respond escalate the conversation. If he’s a good boy and responds then reward him with sex. Always works for me! 🙂

  Does this sound like a site you want your 15 year old daughter to hang out on?  To create a profile?  To share personal information?

 

Link to YouMe.Us – YouMeUs Relationship Advice Teen Dating Decisions Love Break Up Help

Comments

  1. Feel free to check back in another day or two as we are still implementing the first level changes.  Thanks again!

  2. YouMeUs Team – thanks for letting me know you have made changes to your site – I’ll review it again later this week and see what king of improvements you have made.

    Rob

  3. Hi Rob and thank you for taking the time to review our site.  At the time of your review, we had not yet implemented our age group divisions or adult content filtering (the first version of these features are now in place and will continue to be improved in the coming weeks).  We think doing our best to separate young people from adults gets rid of that "icky" feeling you described.  We hope you agree and we hope you’re feeling better!  – The YouMe.Us Team

  4. Rats – we’ll have to wait for that new page for a day – WordPress just "ate it" as I published it.  It’s out there, somewhere, I am sure.  It just isn’t on my blog anymore!

    I’ll redo it tomorrow.   *sigh*

    Rob

  5. :)  Chris – I just added a new page just to explain my views on my reviews – just because I think I’m becomming somewhat of a zealot (or being perceived as one by some – another story) when it comes to Terms of Use and Privacy Policies.

    COPPA and DMCA are absolutely stupid (mostly) – but they shouldn’t be shields that companies can use to hide behind with  bogus  Terms of Use and Privacy Policies.  Especially not when the two seem to be at odds with the desired audience of the site…

    Anyway, yeah – I’m grumpy – not feeling well today.  But I still hate how this site is approaching what they are doing.  It just feels "icky" to me….

    Rob

  6. Dude, y u b messin wit our spot, yo?!  😀

    In all seriousness, Terms of Services have just become "Cover our Asses".  It’s a growing epidemic, and the gov’t surely isn’t helping with COPPA and the DMCA (‘it isn’t us, it’s the user’s fault!’).