The Problem With Petition Sites

Much as I like the concept of petition sites, the way they go about it makes me not want to bother signing anything. You fill out a form with your name, email, whatever message you want to add, and whether you want to be anonymous or not. It then sends you an email to confirm that it was really you instead of some prankster and you click the link to say "Yes, it was me". That should be it, right?

Nope, you've just signed yourself up for a never-ending series of emails full of newsletters and guilt trips! It also implies that if you don't pay/share on social media, the petition you signed won't be seen by as many people on the site and your movement will fail. It's also magically created an account for you which you then have to log into to turn everything off. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to not have a link in the email that immediately unsubscribes you when clicked, but it seems no one cares about enforcing that.

If you want to use a temporary email, like 10 Minute Mail or Shark Lasers, they ain't having that. Any sort of temporary mail service gets swatted down, which shows their actual intent behind the accounts. They don't actually want to store petitions. That's just an easy excuse to harvest your data and sell it on. The constant emails are to keep you engaged so you'll keep coming back to sign petitions. The inability to remove yourself from those emails and delete your account easily is just prickish. Not that it matters anyway because they already have your information and won't delete it. They'll just "soft delete" it by setting a "deleted" flag in the database to true.

What we need is a petition site that just does what's in the first paragraph and that's it. Your information can just be saved in a cookie after you fill out the first petition and stored in the database for each petition. Once the petition is deleted, so is your data. There's no need for creating accounts, nagging emails, and veiled threats. That's just facilitating an unethical business model that needs to be banned and enforced.

If you want to continue to use these sorts of sites, use a secondary email that you don't check regularly. As for me, until, they clean up their act, I won't be touching them with a 10 foot pole.

Tags: Rant