Bad Upgrade

Springstreet Networks, the folks behind Salon and Nerve personals appear to be conducting an exercise in how not to change your service. The new look is cluttered and unsophisticated. Some email messages are lost. Some users have just vanished. (Too bad for you if that email courtship was progressing nicely!) If you had more than one account, they’ve been merged. If you had pictures that weren’t on display, they’re displayed.

Oh and how did they announce this? I thought not at all, but now a friend tells me he saw a popup window that said something about it. Too bad most of us have popup blockers these days. And this from a company that has your email address?

Tacky and poorly managed, Springstreet; you really could have handled this so much better.

Published by

Dinah from Kabalor

Author. Discardian. GM. Current project: creating an inclusive indie fantasy ttrpg

11 thoughts on “Bad Upgrade”

  1. Gah, thanks for the heads up. I saw the warning, but it wasn’t a pop-up. It was this stupid little DHTML widget that didn’t work correctly in safari land. I almost didn’t notice it, but I’m kind of nerdy that way.
    The new system looks like it’s based off the same thing that runs Adult Friend Finder,, Out Personals and that whole family of sites. In my experience, this system seems geared towards driving monthly memberships rather than helping people meet each other. Just a brief looks shows that without signing up for a monthly account, you’ve lost the ability to pinpoint people by distance from you, as well as a much less accurate “last logged on” feature (last three days is the most recently someone can show up). I also know the system has the ability to enforce some draconian restrictions on non-paying members. It doesn’t look like Nerve’s using these yet, but who knows how long that will last?
    A deeper looks shows they’ve screwed up my geographical location, listing me as Rochester, OR (I just moved from Rochester, NY to Oregon). The old Nerve questions don’t match up directly to the new profile sections. It looks like they took the “Why should I get to know you question” and mapped this to the first bit of text on your profile. This creates awkward profiles for people who literally answered the question, and took into account that someone had already read an entire profile before getting there.
    The mutual match system is screwed up. If you chose not to answer certain questions it automatically assumes a mismatch. I only score a 35/100 with myself.
    It also looks like they hosed the “sent messages” folder.
    The loss of the credit system is a real blow. I always preferred buying a bunch of credits i could slowly use over the year. I only contacted people if it looked like there was a really good chance of a match. Credits served the slow moving, now we’re stuck with monthly memberships (previous credits were converted to “points”, but I don’t see a way to buy any points) I also imagine the “members can send unlimited features” is going to result in women getting bombarded by less than eligible suitors.
    All-in-all a horrible “upgrade” from the user’s perspective. This was almost certainly an idea that happened purely for business reasons. Adult Friend Finder and it’s ilk are some of the most financially successful personals sites online today, and I’m guessing someone over at Nerve HQ saw the dollar signs and jumped at the chance.
    Probably the same banker who thought showing full screen flash ads to premium subscribers was a good idea.
    This sucks worse than a sexually-inexperienced braces wearer.


  2. They have now found some (possibly all) of my lost email and have given me another 4000 credits (a bit shy of 2 months of their “Silver” premium service.
    Okay, I’ll give them a little while to get their act together. Still goatloads of usability issues and some downright bugs, but I see that they’re trying.


  3. What Alan said: they merged with FriendFinder, lost their customers’ info, modified the business model to suit more the immediacy of profit rather than the idea of community. As an aside, I remember going through craigslist jobs, and seeing that FriendFinder were looking for people for a “project.”
    Somebody, go rescue them!


  4. i found this thread by typing “springstreet networks sucks now” into google. i’m glad there’s more people that agree that what they’ve become is really horrible. i remember reading about a year ago that springstreet had gone down to a staff of 4 people. i guess they merged with the awful friendfinder network. you can’t even find someone in your own city without paying the monthly fee, you only get state results.
    it’s really sad to see the people on my hotlist drop off one by one.


  5. As I heard more rumors of unpleasant policy changes in the former Springstreet Personals, I decided to take a quick look at the interface again and see if they’ve made any forward progress in the last week or more since I signed in.
    The changes are slight and I found on checking that I had two messages in my inbox which I had not been alerted of. When I read them I found they were brief, poorly written and both from people with whom I don’t have basic compatibility. In other words, more like and less like Salon or Nerve.
    I decided to close my account. Yes, it means sacrificing the credits I have but I don’t like using the new site and wouldn’t be able to get my money’s worth anyhow. It’s clearly going to self select for a less literary crowd and I’m all about the long letters.
    First I changed the text of my profile to reflect that I was moving on to flee the bad redesign. Then I deleted my images. Then I made sure it wasn’t set to autorenew. Then I tried Delete My Account, confirmed the decision and was given a page on which the only text was
    [nopath::email_profile_userdeleted_text:ss:english] [nopath::member_deleted:ss:english]
    I can still get back into the account, so that clearly didn’t work.
    Good lord, could they mess this up any worse?


  6. Besides breaking the things that made this site really work (like the “Get Matched” feature), the emphasis on the monthly system is discouraging. That was the one reason I liked Spring Street. I was able to pay for what activity I actually did. When they made the switchover they lost my mail and my credits. Well they finally retrieved my mail and converted my credits to points. However, before, my 24 credits would allow me to message 24 people. Under the new system I can message 12 people with those 24 credits. I’ve been jacked!


  7. I’m waiting to see if a good replacement arises. All I want is a site with the integrity of Craig Newmark and the design sense of Mena Trott, is that so very much to ask? 😉


  8. like another poster, I found this thread by typing “what happened to springstreet networks”. The freer form and open-endedness of the springstreet questions, and the resulting answers, attracted me. I also liked using a geographic radius. After all, if you live on a state boundary, looking at only your state or the whole country is frustrating. I came to springstreet thru the Onion, which seems to have deteriorated in appearance, usefulness and accessibility below what the nerve personal users are experiencing. I don’t know if we share the same user pool anymore. There were about a dozen organizations contributing to the springstreet pool.


  9. Tragedy. Spring Street Networks attracted a more sophisticated (albeit freaky, sometimes) crowd that was sharper than the match herd. Better functionality combined with reasonable prices certainly underpinned this to an extent but now both of those have been erased. I’d love to see the subscriber/user numbers, as I’m sure they’ll plummet. You can’t charge more for decreased functionality, quite the opposite rather. Thanks guys!


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