This Week In Douchebaggery: AllThis

Well, it's Monday - I guess that means it's time for another douchebag to create a startup on the Internet. Introducing, They list themselves as being in "beta" on their website and claim to be "the ten-minute exchange". Apparently users can bid on and purchase blocks of other users' time! How exciting! And, oh, hey, Mashable wrote an article about them! Wow! Awesome! You know what's even more awesome? You likely already have a profile there! Where people can buy 10 minutes or YOUR time! Fantastic. Look at the notable digerati that have already signed up! All of these profiles have since been removed by AllThis. See the updates at the bottom. * Mike Monteiro * Marco Arment * Jason Santa Maria * Jeff Zeldman * Frank Chimero * Merlin Mann * Dan Benjamin * John Siracusa * Andy Ihnatko * Leo Laporte * David Chartier * Jeremy Keith * Jared Spool * Jacqui Cheng * Tom Merritt * Veronica Belmont * MG Siegler Ok, I'll cut the crap. This site has me really steamed. I reached out to them on Twitter to ask just WTF they were doing:

To which they replied:

Really? No scraping? Then how come each of those profiles listed above are IDENTICAL to the metadata that is listed within the profiles on those social services they're associated with. My response:

Their response:

So apparently, our "friends" created those pages for us. You know, by painstakingly copying our profiles, verbatim, and listing them on their site. Bullshit. This "startup" is scraping prominent peoples' Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles and listing them on their site in order seed the site with accounts that their users might want to buy the time of, without first asking permission to do so of those users or even telling them that they've done so. Did they think no one would notice? Did they really think this was okay to do? Did they really think there wouldn't be pushback from these users by blatantly scraping their profiles, including avatar images, in order to misrepresent that they were using the site? When they finally decide to put up a defense to this, they'll no doubtedly point out that each of the profiles listed above has this disclaimer featured prominently beside the person's name. So prominent that they chose to display the text as a light grey on a white background. It's all about the user experience, after all: Also…"yet"? Awfully presumptuous, I think. It looks though, as I'm not alone in being upset about this:

Update, 12:45 pm eastern: Amy Hoy has also written an excellent post on this topic.

They will remove you from their site if you threaten them — however, they will pretend to not “understand” why you are “upset” — and go on thieving from other people. So, the best way to stop this is to enforce our copyrights. If they steal from you, don’t bother telling them to remove the profile.

She's done a lot of leg work to find out who their DNS and Hosting is provided by and posted their info on her site. [Check it out](

Update, 2:26 pm eastern: AllThis, in response to the deluge of negative Tweets, has begun removing a lot of the prominent profiles listed above. It looks like Mike Monteiro got his lawyer on the case:

In other news, check out the newly launched [AllThisPR Twitter account](!/allthisPR)!

Update 10:19 AM, Dec 20: It appears that all of the accounts I'd listed above have now been removed from their site. According to this Tweet they sent to Amy Hoy last night, they've now turned off non-member pages:

Good work Internet.

Update 12:39 PM, Dec 20: AllThis seems to be waging a war on Twitter against it's detractors. These people are the height of class:

Another instance of their classy communication techniques:

Update 2:09 PM, Dec 20: In addition to hitting BoingBoing, the story is now climbing up the page on Techmeme. Chris Sacca has weighed in and AllThis looks to finally start showing some deference regarding their actions:

Update: 8:00 AM Dec 21: Nick Douglas, writing for Slackstory chimed in:

> I think Allthis thinks they’re being cool and edgy? That would count if their business were, like, funny t-shirts. But Allthis is about helping nerds and suits network. They really wanna shoot for Louis C.K. and come across as Dane Cook? This site won’t make trading time cool. It just makes it gross, desperate and awkward.

Update, 10:56 AM, Dec 21: Matt Gemmel wrote an excellent piece on AllThis as well. He was one of their victims too:

I clicked the link, and saw that I somehow already had a page on their site (also since removed by them), which showed who currently held the supposed right to ten minutes of my time, and even showing my supposed calendar over the next few days (all times were marked as available, of course, since they had no knowledge of my actual availability).

I highly recommend [you read]( Matt's article. His commentary on the whole fiasco was put much better than I could have done so myself.

Update, 11:40 AM, Dec 21: {merlin voice}Turns out{/merlin voice}, AllThis are still being assholes on Twitter:

Update, 11:54 AM, Dec 21: More good news for AllThis. Also, there was a puff piece posted on VentureBeat yesterday about AllThis in which they had interviewed one of the founders. I did not notice, but GigaOm did that this article was written by the same reporter who formerly worked at Mashable, and wrote that glowing review of them back in October. Make of that what you will... Bobbie Johnson at GigaOm, wrote an excellent post about user hostile techniques such as this starting to show up more and more within the industry:

I think what jars me the most is that these companies almost all claim to be “social”, but they are in fact employing marketing techniques that are uniquely anti-social. They use our images and our identities to fluff up their services and boost their bank accounts. They do all the things you or I would be pilloried for. In the grand scheme of things, shadow profiles are just a tiny part of this encroachment. But they are still bad behavior that help no one except the companies involved (and even then, they probably don’t help them in the long run). Shadow profiles are precisely the sort of marketing method that has been rewarded — rather than punished — over the last few years.

> Perhaps it’s about time we really held them to account for it.

Update, 12:33 PM, Dec 21: David Chartier noticed that AllThis has now removed the search box from their site so users can no longer find out of their profile was also scrapped.

Also, Liam Boogar, writing for The Rude Baguette, wrote a post about what AllThis should have done and what they did wrong:

To all you pre-PR startups out there: head this warning – angry users are the best thing that can ever happen to you. It’s like on YouTube: your video isn’t popular until someone comments about how your video relates to Justin Bieber, and then someone else complains that people only talk about Justin Bieber on the internet. People that are angry are impassioned, and this is the best thing you can hope for in users. Take those angry users, and turn them into ambassadors by demonstrating not only the value of your product, but the value of your team. In short, don’t “AllThis” up your PR.