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tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

January 26, 2009

facebook is great for moms

First I joined friendster, then everyone moved to myspace, and then along came facebook. It wasn’t until this last social network appeared that people really started finding me out of the blue. Computers aren’t geeky anymore. Working moms, stay at home moms, high school jocks, classmates just out of prison, they’re all on facebook.

I remember when I had an Angelfire email account years ago, Classmates.com would roll out the banner ads all the time. It seemed like a great idea, but it costs money to contact people who have put up profiles. I didn’t care that much. Just stopped by their site and they are charging $39 a year for complete access (to be able to contact other profiles, etc.)

Classmates has been around since 1995 so they aren’t completely stupid, but I would have to believe their days are numbered. Here’s a quote from the CEO Micheal Shutzler back in 2002:

“We’re not changing any business paradigm. The myth in the early days…was that information on the Internet wanted to be free, and the consumer won’t want to pay for anything. Somehow, you’d make money. (Classmates.com) grew painfully slowly…a couple of years ago, we had 5 or 6 million names in the database. Then came the collapse of inflated advertising rates. We had a product that was compelling and had an opportunity to acquire new customers at an economically viable price. ”

I wonder how this guy feels about facebook, which offers everything classmates does, but for free – and has about 1000 times more growth. I enjoy being part of the generation that has watched the internet develop. I can already say, “Kids these days don’t know how easy they have it. We used to have to rely on class reunions to find out who got fat and who got rich.”

As a former class president, I ought to organize an online reunion. But I was impeached for a reason – I didn’t do my job. So you won’t find me on Classmates, and there I am on facebook, adding friends but not really sure why.


  1. rolston- did my friend request today make you write this article!? The thing is dumb but we’re all monkeys who wanna pick each other’s fleas. And I would like to see you if I make it to SF this spring…

    Comment by Eric Waters — January 26, 2009 @ 8:30 am

  2. That CEO was clearly a dumbass.

    Classmates was sold in 2004 for $100M to a company called United Online, which apparently likes to buy internet dinosaurs (NetZero and Juno being amongst their acquisitions). At the time, they were bringing in $54M a year in revenues from 1.4 million paying subscribers. That might sound like a lot until you factor in 175 employees in the Pacific Northwest and you’re probably talking about no more than $26M once payroll is removed. Throw in some other operating costs (facilities, advertising and hosting their service) and they probably had profits in line with what a mid to top tier professional athlete makes. That’s not too good for a publicly traded company.

    As far as Facebook goes, I just can’t get into it. I think I’m adverse to networking in general. Most people I want to track down from the past seem to have their own internet presence (MRIP or rocketfuelonly.com for example) or frequent those hubs of socially evolved thinking. Maybe I shouldn’t prejudge, though.

    Comment by Lyle_S — January 26, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

  3. Jon: I think we should have your impeachment overturned. I mean, shit you followed through and brought the toilet paper to school like you said you would. Just because we didn’t raise any money for our senior class wasn’t your fault. We survived.

    Lyle: You’re a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. I’m very impressed.

    Comment by J Landry — January 26, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  4. I just look stuff up on the internet. I just think of what I wish I knew and then I learn it for a few minutes, pass it on and forget it.

    The toilet paper promise was what got my vote, I remember that clearly. The icing on top was all the overachieving female candidates got so bent out of shape when Jon won.

    I’m pretty sure Kristen Alandydy is head of the cardiac department at a hospital in San Diego. You should stop down there some time, Jon, and ask her if she wants to team up with you to organize the 20th year reunion.

    Comment by Lyle_S — January 26, 2009 @ 6:47 pm

  5. What if we aren’t suppose to find old friends, old lovers, past schoolmates? What if certain people are suppose to drift in and out of our lives? Maybe finding people from our past is part of the decline of civilization. Maybe Classmates.com, Facebook and MySpace are multiple personalities of the Antichrist.

    Back in “the day”, the only ways to find people were to A) pay a lot of money to a Private Dick or B) appear on Donahue, Geraldo or Oprah. Nowadays, one can simple log in to a myriad of websites and locate their long, lost fill in the blank.

    Someone outta do a study…

    Comment by jb — January 27, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  6. well Eric, you are more than welcome to stay at my place. In fact, Matt Conway and I invite you all to stop in for a day or two. Maybe longer, by special arrangement and some money changing hands. (don’t give it to Matt)

    I am a hub of socially evolved thinking, so the price isn’t cheap.

    JB, what happens when you track down old friends? You realize you changed. That’s all you wanted to know. Things are different. We all want to know we’ve grown up. What reinforces that better than meeting the freshman class of 1991 online? Or in person at Yoken’s Restaurant and Function Hall? (RIP) You chart your growth against the others.

    Like Kristen. I always thought it was with a C. She probably thought Jon had an H. We are both in charge of healing hearts. We should have dated. Next time we meet we’ll probably fall in love. That’s why classmates.com was able to make any money at all. People are dreamers. Love is so easy online.

    Comment by Rolston — January 27, 2009 @ 10:56 pm

  7. Oh, how I’ve changed. And have been back ’round and changed again. But that’s not what I’m seeking out, Rolston. It’s more selfish, greedy, gossipy even. It’s more like voyeurism. I want to know about others without having to give up the goods on me. A little shitty of me, I admit, sheepishly. And I don’t necessarily agree with charting yourself against others. In the big scope, I could give a rat’s ass about what a former classmate is doing now. I’ve muttered aloud “whatever happened to…” in my life, but what charts my growth is me. Where I’ve been, what I’ve learned, how I’m using it to better my self, my life and those I choose to saddle up next to. I’ve never been a competitive person. Perhaps that is the difference.

    Comment by jb — January 28, 2009 @ 7:30 am

  8. You thought her name was spelled Cristen? Must be a Greenland thing.

    Comment by Lyle_S — January 28, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

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