Canceling Accounts is Hard Sometimes

Back when I suggested there be a day each year where we all delete our unused web app accounts, I never imagined that some companies would be so difficult about it.

In fact, those in the web app industry should start monitoring this type of thing. There has been much made of how some web apps are making registration so easy these days (and even eliminating it in some cases), but we ought to also rate websites on how easily they let us delete our accounts.

So far, I have had to actually email a half-dozen companies. Very 1990’s, I thought. Very retro. Kind of cute. Veer went so far as to tell me that “we don’t cancel accounts as there are sales histories as well as download links that customers may wish they had access to after they cancel”. Except that I’ve never ordered anything from them. And that my address (both email and mailing) was changing. So, even I thought I’d be nice and keep their database pure, it appears they like old, bad data. Even from non-buying people. Odd, but who am I to argue with their business model.

So far, Helium has been one of the worst offenders. So, I finally gave up and just ganked my profile so that maybe one day, they’ll wise up and cancel the account. In the meantime, feel free to read my profile for a quick laugh. I did a similar thing at another company (although I don’t remember which one).

I’m thinking this might be the way to go in the future. If a company doesn’t have a clear “cancel account” link somewhere obvious, why should I have to search through FAQ’s, find some hidden contact form, email it and wait 3 days for a snooty response like “Why do you want to cancel?”. These AOLian types think my reason is their business. Because, they think, it will lead to a healthy conversation about their business model so they can make improvements, or at least provide them some rockin’ cool stats. Sorry, I get paid to give out info like that. And you should, too.

Thankfully, most good companies make canceling accounts a breeze. I want to contrast the Helium foolishness with that of a recent issue I had with Flickr and Google, but I’ll save their good deeds for another post since I don’t want to mix light with darkness here. And because I’m tired right now. And kind of hungry. And the sun is shining in my eyes and I can barely see my screen. I should move my laptop, but that requires work. And as I said already, I’m tired. So, I’ll just sit here going blind. It’s easier.

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