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  Ask friends for feedback UPDATE 2, UPDATE 1, ORIGINAL

Feb 6, 2002 (Updated Feb 23, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Pros: Nice to see old friends are still around

Cons:Cons: But how can you contact them?

The Bottom Line: The Bottom Line: Don't join unless you want to keep joining -- and keep having to pay every time you do. These people are only after your money.

No longer 33 hours, but 48 hours have passed since the last email from, copied below, that my status as a "Gold member" has been "reinstated." It hasn't.

The swindle-sentimental-former-students saga continues. I notifed of the negative epinion I'd written on the site.

Date: 08:44 AM PST, 02/14/2002
Subject: Classmates now "starring" on

Feb. 14, 2002

Well, Michelle and members of the "corp." of "," your organization is now "starring" on, read by thousands upon thousands, if not millions, of consumers, almost all of whom have at least graduated from high school.

You want to attract them. You want their money. With the review on your organization I've written, shown below, I think many will be deterred from joining as "gold members," which you have yet to admit that I am.

This doesn't prompt you to find my paid membership? Well, if not,
there is always, for which I also write reviews, and then there is the Better Business Bureau, which endorses your site but may have second thoughts when I forward this to them if you don't acknowledge my membership by Friday -- that's tomorrow.

Am I threatening You cann damn well count on it.
No one likes paying for membership and then being denied the
service paid for as a member. You've ripped me off, and it's time to
make amends.

Get hopping. You have today and tomorrow.

Shannon Bryony

p.s. I'm notifying current, paid members of, as
well. Too bad one can do only two cc's at a time, but not to worry: I can always dupe this letter and send it to all the other paid members I know.

Well, that email didn't do any good. It was just ignored.

Or possibly staffers couldn't find the location of my on, any more than I could, because it's not in a category that shows up in the Epinions list of categories and one can't find it on even if one does a global search. (HINT, HINT to Please make this readily available. To find this file, one must click on my number of reviews. Mine isn't the only review of this organization, and, since advertises so much on other websites, people ought to be able to read the reviews before they decide whether to join.)

At any rate, I got no reply. Not one who enjoys being ignored, I decided to make it very easy for "Michelle" and "" people to find the Epinions review by sending this email:

Date: 08:23 AM PST, 02/21/2002
From: bryony
Subject: I wasn't kidding. Honor my membership!

Feb. 21, 2002

Well, Michelle,

I can see you and the bunch haven't honored my
paid membership yet. I suggest you do. I wasn't kidding about my
written exposure of your fraud against me, and here's the URL on, that you can read yourself.

Shannon (McKee) Bryony
San Francisco, CA Polytechnic '66

THAT one got a response:

Date: 01:37 PM PST, 02/21/2002
From: Michelle
To: "''"
Subject: Classmates Inquiry

Thank you for writing to us.

We apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiries about your Gold membership. We have researched this matter and found that on July 27, 2001, you paid for a Gold membership. On August 19, 2001, we received an email from this email address requesting to cancel this membership. This membership was then cancelled.

Because you have expressed your desire to utilize this membership, we will reinstate it and extend the membership an additional two months. This means your membership will now be valid until September 27, 2002. This should be effective within 24 hours.

Please follow the directions below to log into your membership at

We hope this information is helpful....


Member Care Team
Classmates Online

I responded:

Date: 02:32 PM PST, 02/21/2002
From: bryony
To: Michelle

Feb. 21. 2002


I asked to cancel my membership and receive a refund. I was told
these things weren't possible. I certainly wasn't told my membership had been cancelled, while kept my payment.

Thanks for taking care of the problem, finally. It's too bad it had to go to the extent that it did before paid any attention to my many requests to have my membership honored.

Shannon Bryony
Polytechnic '66
San Francisco, CA

Well, guess what? It's been 33 hours and counting, and I'm still not recognized as a "Gold member." I guess the Better Business Bureau is next.

My epinion is that this whole setup is a gimmick to sell things to people. From dating services to 50 percent discounts on hotels -- uh, do I notice a connection here? -- wants your money and it wants you to spend money on all its advertisers. There's no kind, sentimental impetus to reconnect lost school friends powering this .... this .... words fail me.


How many people have been snared into joining

Ostensibly, it's a site to enable former schoolmates to reconnect. Or that's how it started out, and, in some ways, it's still like that. You have a bio page in which you can write about yourself, post your photo, reminisce. It used to be free, and it offered lists of schools, former students from the schools you attended, message boards on which you could shoot the bull. It only required a paid membership if you wanted to personally email someone registered for it like yourself.

There were lots of people from my high school signed up, although, since there were message boards in which people could talk freely to one another, paying to email seemed a bit silly.

But the site began changing last year. kept going through redesign phases -- and policy changes.

It began requiring paid membership to use the formerly free message boards, introduced text chat rooms for which it required membership, and, of course, it required membership, as always, to email listed former students you wanted to touch bases with again.

I held out for a while, but finally, last summer, I let the site charge me its rather steep fee of twenty $something (which this month has increased to $36). I got to email a couple of people. Then my membership records "got lost" and whenever I tried to use any of its offerings, I was told I had to register. Not only was I registered, but I was also a paid member. I got mad and wrote letters to the "contact us" people.

My basic registration was finally found, and I got a letter saying so:

Date: 04:20 PM PST, 01/22/2002
From: Michelle
To: "''"
Subject: RE: Payment/Membership Problem


"Thank you for writing.

"We have located your membership at Classmates. Please follow the
instructions below to log into your account.

"1. Go to and click "Log in here", located on the
right hand side of the page.
2. You can then enter your registration number, "########," in the top box.
3. Enter your password, "XXXXXX," in the lower box.
4. When you click "Login", you will be taken to your registration.
5. You may be asked to update your email address. If this is the case, please update the information in the boxes provided and click the "Submit" button to finish logging in.

"To go directly to the log in page please click on the following link: "

But when I got there, the cupboard was bare, of all but my basic registration, and whenever I tried to use message boards, email, etc., I'd get screens telling me to "upgrde" to "Gold [paid] membership." But I'd already paid, and here's one of several letters I then sent to "Michelle." (All had gone unanswered.)

In the previous letters, I'd claimed paid membership without proof, which I finally found; I saved it on my hard disk:

Date: 10:54 PM PST, 01/31/2002
From: bryony
To: Michelle
Subject: Re: RE: Payment/Membership Problem

Jan. 31, 2002

It's always amazing, the things one squirrels away on one's hard

I've found PROOF POSITIVE that I AM a "GOLD" member of, not just registered, and that I'm entitled to all the services -- classmate-related services, which your site is denying me -- not all that shilling for travel discounts and other things of no use to me. This is a letter sent to me after I paid for my membership:

"From:   Classmates
Date:   Sat, 28 Jul 2001 17:36:14 -0700 PDT
Subject:   Your Membership #######

Your High School: Polytechnic
Your Classmates Registration Number: ######

"Thank you for joining Classmates, Shannon!
Now you're part of the Web's fastest-growing community for high
school alumni and military friends. Every day, our members
reconnect with old friends, lost loves, even family members they
haven't seen in years....
This email is sent to all new Classmates Gold Members (underline mine for emphasis)...."

Well, do you see where it says "Gold Members"? I paid. I am one.
Open up the site so I can use what I paid for, and I strongly suggest that you extend my membership past the time it would end for a full year, because I've been trying for a while to use this site and getting refused.

Shannon Bryony
Polytechnic High School '66
San Francisco, CA

Granted, not much time has elapsed from the date I sent this letter and the current date. However, I have a feeling I'm not going to receive an answer to it any more than I did to the previous letters.

And, as I've said, the "privileges" of, which is now shilling everything from free gas to hotel discounts, etc., has gone up to $36 yearly. But I haven't even had a full year of paid membership at the previous rate. Am I supposed to pay more now to use Maybe ... but I don't think I will.

Recommend this product? No

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