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Naymz: A Stalker Enabled Social Network
Ed Kohler

Naymz is a social network that appears to be going after something close to Linkedin.com's market. Their slogan is, "Empowering Reputable Professionals."

I was turned on to the site through an invite from a friend and have had a chance to casually check it out over the past few weeks.

While it does offer some interesting features for professionals such as the ability to endorse friends or use friends as online references, I can't get past the site's biggest problem: stalking.

Naymz offers reporting on which other Naymz users have been viewing your profile. While this is certainly fascinating information, it doesn't take long to realize, "Wait a minute. That means everyone who's profile I visit can see that I've visited them too." At that point, I realized that this site wasn't for me.

Premium members can find out more about who's stalking them, as this internal ad shows:

Naymz: Stalk your Stalkers

If I paid, I could see who was visiting my profile, what IP address they visited from (possibly telling me which company that worked for), where they are in the world, and and the exact time they visited. If the referring link showed something like a company's internal webmail, I could also infer that I was being talked about.

Naymz: Reports and Tools

This is all fascinating information, but the reporting flops when you realize that the same type of information about your Naymz browsing is being shared with other site members.

Could you imagine how quickly Facebook users would revolt if Facebook started reporting who was viewing your profile while telling everyone else who's profiles you've been viewing? That would kill it.

And if that would kill Facebook, Naymz may be dead on arrival if they don't pull the plug on their stalking reporting.




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Comments

1. Posted by: Matthias Dietrich on January 25, 2008 2:58 AM:

Isn't that normal on such sites to report your "visitors"? I agree that the IP souldn't be shown. Due to the screenshot above I guess the information about where the users are from is too imprecise.

Xing, the German pendant to LinkedIn, showes already the visiting users and where they came from (URL).

Regards




2. Posted by: ArtByLetters on January 25, 2008 6:10 AM:

seems to me like Google Analytics what once was the best factor of adsence is now common play , personally I'm Happy as hell as that someone would take the time to care enough to look .... Because either way you look at it or dole it out it converts to traffic and that My friend is the key to the both of us being Here ...

ArtByLetters
SRXXXP
James
;)


..




3. Posted by: Ed Kohler on January 25, 2008 11:03 AM:

Matthias, thanks for a German perspective. I think a raw visitor count or trends could be valuable without having the privacy backlash or reporting to others what you're looking at.

ArtByLetters, yes traffic is good, and reporting visitor counts is fine. I just don't think a site sharing as much information as Naymz does will excite their site's users as they come to find that their browsing behavior is being reported to other users.




4. Posted by: Lila on January 25, 2008 2:43 PM:

Facebook has offered this feature for years. How out of date are you?




5. Posted by: Ed Kohler on January 25, 2008 3:03 PM:

Really? I've never seen it. What's it called on there? Do you have a link?




6. Posted by: Lila on January 25, 2008 3:42 PM:

Sorry--that's Friendster that's had it forever.

They offer it as a quid pro quo choice, where you can be anonymoys but not see anyone who's looked at your profile, or else have visibility for yourself and your stalkers.

Some people believe that anonymous viewing is too easy an out, and have started Friendster groups to encourage all users to be "seen."

Personally I think it's a digital yearbook and anonymity is part of the game.




7. Posted by: Ed Kohler Author Profile Page on January 25, 2008 4:22 PM:

Thanks for clarifying. I missed the Friendster phase.

I agree that anonymity is part of the game. I shouldn't have to turn myself in every time I choose to view public data.




8. Posted by: Eric Weaver on January 27, 2008 1:15 AM:

Ed, I don't know that I'd call Naymz a social network as much as I would a central profile with some networking features... or better yet, a fledgling attempt at online reputation management. But regardless, visitor reporting is a feature that's been available to the kids on MySpace (via trackspace.net) for a long time.

Unfortunately, outside of people operating through anonymous proxy servers, private surfing is pretty much extinct. Better to surf under the assumption that your visitor metrics are easily available to the site and potentially to other visitors as well. I'd encourage you to look at Naymz through the lens of "how can I use this site to lay claim to my online profile or reputation" rather than get tripped up by a commonly used reporting feature, however distasteful it may be.




9. Posted by: Frank Kaufman on January 29, 2008 8:07 PM:

Linkedin also has this feature on its main page. It tells you who visited your profile in the past week.




10. Posted by: Ed Kohler Author Profile Page on January 29, 2008 11:03 PM:

It's close, but it doesn't tell me who. It tells me that someone from a certain industry or company did. That's also a bit further than I'd like to see this sort of thing go, but may have found the line that's acceptible.




11. Posted by: Ken on April 8, 2008 8:36 PM:

I am not going to mess with Naymz. I have ignored several invites and got another one today. Decided to search a bit and found your post here. Thanks.

Just went to LinkedIn and changed some of my Privacy settings. You may want to do the same.
https://www.linkedin.com/secure/settings

Thanks for the post.




12. Posted by: Dan Brickley on April 12, 2008 7:32 AM:

You can also get some of this information when people look at your ordinary web homepage or blog...




13. Posted by: IP on April 28, 2008 5:09 AM:

How about our privacy? Premium member can see our network details.




14. Posted by: Joe Norton on July 25, 2008 8:34 AM:

It looks like I'm several months late to the party... But I just found this from a google search and wanted to chime in. I work with Anthillz and we're getting into a similar space as Naymz - being a Reputation Network.

I agree that their privacy settings seem pretty crazy. I would definitely not want people to be able to grab my IP because I viewed their profile.

At Anthillz, we allow freelancers (mostly tech and creatives) to create a reputation - meaing they can get references, they can link to their various works, and find better clients.

I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts on our network.




15. Posted by: Tim on November 26, 2008 6:04 PM:

The real problem with Naymz is you can't get off it. If you sign up to check it out you are there for good. Their process for removing your profile just doesn't work. This is not what I would consider a professional or privacy respecting service. I have sent them direct e-mails on this topic to attempt to have my trial profile turned off (after their utility failed to do it) and they have not replied or responded to my e-mails. I would not recommend Naymz to anyone.




16. Posted by: Tom Drugan on November 28, 2008 12:25 PM:

Tim,
We try to make the deletion of account as easy as possible. To completely delete your profile and account, edit your subscription on the Account tab and choose 'Delete Account'. Accounts that are deleted are not recoverable.





17. Posted by: nidget on January 27, 2009 2:52 AM:

> We try to make the deletion of account as easy as possible

Thanks for the info. Yes, it's easy to do, but the button was very difficult to find.




18. Posted by: Raoul on March 9, 2009 2:49 PM:

Has anybody thought it might be a big scam. Just to retrieve you email and all other related information. The ad industry is involved to. It must be a big scam




19. Posted by: Jim on March 11, 2009 1:48 PM:

Ed, I don't know if this is new, but Naymz now has a privacy setting to disable "visit sharing," which supposedly blocks reporting that you've visited someone's profile.

I'm not thrilled about the granularity of their privacy settings, but at least anonymous surfing is available. There's no way to set up a lower-info public profile, for instance: it's an all or nothing affair.




20. Posted by: GWENdolyn massingill on October 29, 2009 12:02 PM:

Linkedin also reviews to those who's profile you visit to them. I do not see any difference between linkedin and Naymz.




21. Posted by: behihoo on January 8, 2010 5:00 AM:

You may want to look into the difference between "who's" and "whose"




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