Would you please sign this petition? (and then pay us to remove your account)
A few months back, I signed a petition online. The kind of petition you know
won't actually do anything, but makes you feel good for
Yes, it was a spur of the moment thing.
As one had to log in to sign the petition, and I didn't feel like creating yet another account, just for a petition, I used their “sign in using your Twitter account” feature.
You can imagine how surprised (and unimpressed) I was when, a short while later, I found out I had posted a new message to Twitter via petitionspot.com.
Yup, although I didn't give petitionspot.com any authorisation to post using my Twitter credentials, and only used these credential as a form of authentication , apparently they thought it was fine and went right away with using my account for shameless self-promotion.
And they also created an account on their platform, without warning.
 Authentication against what anyway? Is petition fraud such a widespread problem we need to authentify?
I zapped them a quick email asking for deletion of the account, and complaining about what I thought was abusive use of trust, and of course firstname.lastname@example.org bounced back and I forgot about it.
Going through my email recently, I found the mailer daemon bounce mail, and had another look at the website, thinking (naively) ”Oh, I'll just quickly delete the account.“
Well it gets better.
You want to delete an account on petitionspot.com? That'll be 145$ please.
I shit you not.
If you have your account credentials, you can login and delete signatures you made with your account to petitions, but to delete the actual account, you have to pay.
Oh, and you need an email address too to login. What do you mean, you don't
have an email address associated with your account as you only ever logged in
using your Twitter account? Well too bad.
Oh, and by the way, you can't log in using Twitter anymore.
So lets sum this up:
You go to sign a simple petition, have to log in, use Twitter to do so, petitionspot.com creates an account for you even if you don't want an account, further down the track petitionspot.com removes the ability to log in using Twitter, and demands the amusing amount of one hundred and forty five US dollars to remove an account you never asked to create in the first place.
Hmm, is it me, or does this sound like a bait and switch?
Well, it seems it's all rather well thought out: their contact page has a section “My name shows up in a google search and I want to remove it!”.
In my case, there is zero information on that account. But I could imagine people who went on a petition craze, signed loads of petitions, used a random email address, filled in their profile and now are appearing with their full name next to debatable petitions in search results. Potential employers just love that.
Could it be at all intentional?
Sounds like a plan: get people to sign petitions, create accounts, get looooots of email addresses, publish signatures and ask for $145 to delete an account should people not want to appear on your website anymore, knowing lots of people won't remember their credentials, or will lose access to their email address, or…
Am I seeing things negatively here, or is there a good reason for doing this?