Two Fridays ago as I was ready to leave for President’s day weekend, somebody knocked on our door. It was a man named Kevin. Kevin is an engineer working at a card processing company and he was upset that we had not removed his profile from the site given multiple requests. Furthermore, he was complaining that there was no way for him to remove himself technically from the site. Kevin is a young tech-savvy guy and I thought that if he had trouble removing himself from the site, then so would most everyone else. So I decided to sit down with him and open my computer to go over our self-service removal process to understand once and for all what the issues are.
To set the stage for what action was actually taken during the meeting and to demonstrate what every member of Spoke has the ability to do, here is a quick step by step of what we did:
1. Searched for his name in the Spoke website
2. Found his Spoke Profile and clicked on it
3. Click on the words “this is me” on the left side under the photo
4. On the registration page, located the “suppress your profile” link on the right and clicked on it. (Kevin didn’t see this removal link so we will make some changes to make it more visible)
5. Completed the suppression process to confirm his identity and officially suppress his profile.
Some people ask why they have to register for Spoke to have their profile suppressed. Actually, you don’t have to. However, given the nature of our business, it’s conceivable that someone would attempt to set up false profiles or to attempt to take control of a specific profile for malicious purposes. Since anyone can set up a free ISP email account, we require you to be able to verify your identity using a corporate email address.
We are more than happy to help remove profiles from Spoke. Our intentions are not to keep somebody who doesn’t want to be on Spoke, on Spoke no matter what. Our commitment is to remove you as fast as we can. The fastest way is through our self-removal process that Kevin and I went through. It provides instantaneous removal from the site and then a couple of days to several weeks to get a specific profile removed from Google.
Talking to the team last week about my discussion with Kevin, it’s clear we still faces issues regarding the removal process. Our commitment to you is that:
1) We will keep reemphasizing this self-service process on the site, on our FAQs or on the blog; this is our preferred way and if you don’t find the current self-service feature easy enough, just let us know and we will adjust accordingly
2) We will continue sending instructional emails within 48 business hours to people who want themselves removed; if people don’t receive their emails, it may be because these emails are either caught in a spam filter at the mail box level or at the ISP level. We are working diligently to make sure that we are not blacklisted and currently we are not on any lists.
3) Some people may want to reach us directly over the phone and have their profile removed this way. We are in the process of evaluating how we can do this given the nature of our small team while still providing service to our members. Several options are being researched and you should stay tuned to the blog for future developments on this topic. If you choose this course for suppressing your profile, please be patient as this manual process takes much longer than the self-service approach.
P.S.- Don't forget about the "If only I had Spoke... " contest. There are only a few days left to get your shot at winning $100 - CASH!