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Manhunt’s Despicable New Privacy Policy That Dumps Your Name + Photos Onto the Web Without Asking


While it may not benefit you to have all your personal information hanging out there like you’re wearing a pair of these, it surely benefits Facebook, which is why the social networking site continues freeballing it with your privacy. It’s not just that Facebook is handing your data to advertisers; you’ll recall the site flipped a switch and made most of your previously hidden data open to the public — unless you opted out. Well guess what: Manhunt.net is about to do the same.

In an email to members, the gay cruising site says “later this month, visitors to Manhunt will be able to search instantly from the login page, even if they don’t have an account yet. We’re making this change so that it’s even easier for guys to find each other on Manhunt. If you’re a fan of the additional exposure, you don’t have to do a thing! If you’d prefer to keep your profile hidden from guys who aren’t members of the site yet, it’s easy to adjust your privacy settings. If you like the extra attention, just keep the box checked. And don’t worry, only your public images will be visible, and nobody will be able to send you mail or IMs without logging in first. If you turn off your public profile, only registered, logged-in Manhunt members will be able to view your profile.”

What’s that mean? Manhunt, owned by Larry Basile and Jonathan Crutchley’s company Online Buddies, is opening up its walled garden of dick to the masses. And it’s very possible that by making its profile database available to anyone without requiring them to log in, that data will be made available to the nastiest of all big brothers: search engines. Previously blocked off from the Internet by the login requirement, Manhunt is now taking up Facebook’s M.O., which involves something about “data wanting to be free” and “who cares about the privacy of our customers”?

Many of you may think, “What’s the big deal? If you’re on Manhunt, anybody can find you anyhow.” Which is true — sort of. But currently, an employer Googling a known alias won’t be able to find you; they would have to have an account on Manhunt and search for you pecifically. And imagine all the closeted guys (heyyy!!) who forgot they even had a Manhunt account, or simply abandoned it or don’t sign in for three months at a time, whose “public photos” are suddenly now … much more public. At least requiring someone to sign up for a free Manhunt account before they could find you allowed you some peace of mind when it came to cruising.

It might be a response to the competition from Fabulis — which Manhunt’s owners started a mock feud with — which, like Facebook, makes much of your personal information available to the entire web, including your name and public photos. (If you’re on Fabulis, just Google “your name Fabulis” and see what pops up.)

If Manhunt wants to open up its entire member directory to the public, fine, but let members opt-in. Don’t force them to opt-out. It’s a shitty business practice in the name of juicing up traffic, and members should demand Manhunt halt its privacy exploitation. Yes, the site is free to change its terms of service whenever it wants, but when guys signed up for an account they did so with the understanding their information would at least be somewhat hidden from the rest of the web.

And you thought donating to John McCain was the only reason to be upset with Crutchley.

Update: Manhunt responds.

Hello from Manhunt,

There are a few points in this article that caught our attention as being particularly inaccurate, and we wanted to set the record straight. Well, straight-ish.

The one thing you got right: Yes, we are rolling out the ability to search for profiles without logging in. We feel that by allowing new visitors the ability to quickly scan through the site, they’ll be able to see firsthand that we have the world’s hottest guys.

Manhunt has NEVER allowed search engines to access member profiles, and that isn’t changing. Our search engine configuration file (known to the tech community as robots.txt) prohibits any indexing of our search results. See for yourself: http://www.manhunt.net/robots.txt. Even if a prospective employer did search for a name, they wouldn’t see anything come up from Manhunt.

And, unlike the sites we’ve been erroneously compared to, Manhunt never asks for your real name unless you’re purchasing a membership — and even then, that information is stored on a separate and secure database. We never have and never will display real names on Manhunt. You’ll have to ask him for it (and it helps to remember it when he comes over later).

As commenter Zach already noted, “there’s always been a public profile checkbox-that’s been around for a long time.” We’ve always given members the option to toggle their public profile visiblity with a single checkbox on the settings screen. Guys who are checking out public profiles without being logged in can’t see anyone’s private pictures, nor can they send you emails, IMs or winks.

So, let’s recap: search engines will never index our data (which never includes any personally-identifiable information anyway), members can opt out of this program with a single click and we’ve rolled out these changes incrementally to collect feedback from various test markets. We’re here 24/7/365 via phone and email to answer member questions and provide assistance in understanding and setting privacy options.

We’re disappointed that Queerty didn’t get all of their facts straight and we hope that this clears the air.

Thanks,

Adam Segel
Chief Executive Officer

By:           Ryan Tedder
On:           Aug 9, 2010
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 26 Comments
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      Like your employers also, landlords, ex-stalkers etc. You are absolutley nuts if you put your actual personal info on ANY SITE…….Fuck You Very much Manhunt

      Aug 9, 2010 at 10:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zach
      Zach

      Um, there’s always been a public profile checkbox–that’s been around for a long time. Turned on you can find profiles from Google. This is nothing new.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • red phone
      red phone

      “It’s a shitty business practice in the name of juicing up traffic”

      This coming from a website that posts Morning Goods with 20-40 non-thumbnailed images? So fucking rich!

      Aug 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Riley
      Riley

      C’mon Queerty… it’s time to disclose your relationship with Fabulis. No one else on the web but Queerty even cares about Fabulis. Is it because Fabulis’ owner Bradford Shellhammer happens to be Queerty’s original editor? Does Queerty own a stake in Fabulis? Hmmmm?

      Aug 9, 2010 at 12:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eli
      Eli

      Really, people still use manhunt, how very 2006.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • concernedcitizen
      concernedcitizen

      A former employer of mine once found my manhunt profile, (I hadn’t even known he was gay) after that, he kept leering at me and on occasion would make passes at me despite being married and “hetero” but curious. It got so bad, I finally just quit and swiftly deleted my manhunt account. I never wanted to pursue litigation solely because it would’ve been costly and garner more exposure than I necessarily wanted. Needless to say I’m not a fan of these manhunt, adam4adam, style sites. But that’s just been my own experience.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 1:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      OMG! Whatever you do, don’t let anybody find out you are ghey! Whine about it instead.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt
      Matt

      @Eli: What do people use now?

      Aug 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marcelo
      Marcelo

      Wow what biased journalism!

      You make it sound like Manhunt is out to get it’s members and expose their private lives!

      No wonder gays ate so labeled, cattiness is observed everywhere in our culture, even our blogs!

      This was way sansationalized and dramatic!

      Aug 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • shanelle
      shanelle

      Thats why I have never posted a single photo of me on any site. And my friends know that they phone will be thrown down six flights of stairs if they take or post my pix.

      Once its on the internets its there 4-ever. People can still find archives of the deleeted pages. I dont want my chances of getting a legal job at “Vogue Lesbienne” to be sqwashed because theres some dum foto of me accidently kissing a guy. or flashhing litttle cleav/age.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tad
      tad

      this is so lame and sensationalistic of queerty. no matter what anyone says, the hottest guys are always on manhunt. hotter than grindr, hotter than a4a, hotter than gay.com. sounds like bitter queeniness to me.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dawson
      Dawson

      They sky is falling….

      You do realize that anyone that wants to can create a Manhunt account in around 1-2 minutes right? They can use completely fake personal information and even set up a dummy e-mail and get right in. So, why do you think its a big deal if they suddenly get your information 1-2 minutes faster?

      Aug 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John Smith
      John Smith

      Why isn’t Queerty posting Manhunt’s reply to this article?

      Aug 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AJ
      AJ

      What’s more, deleting your Manhunt account is a pain (it takes forever to find the button). And you can’t even edit your profile text freely anymore. No one wants a hookup site like Facebook, where’s there’s too much control.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hunter
      Hunter

      As an ex-employee of Manhunt I can guarantee that no one, absolutely NO ONE, cares more about your privacy than they do. Manhunt spends more time and money making sure customers data is private than you could imagine. I personally witnessed hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on market research to ensure customer feedback went into every aspect of the product. Just my 2 cents.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason Goldberg
      Jason Goldberg

      Hi, Jason Goldberg here, CEO of http://www.fabulis.com. I’m not sure how we got sucked into a manhunt story and we have nothing to do with queerty.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 10:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matthew
      Matthew

      Hi Jason Goldberg, typical urban gay here. I’m not sure how I got sucked into fabulis and I would rather have nothing to do with it.

      And stop scowling in your pictures.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 10:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dvd
      dvd

      @concernedcitizen:

      If you put your face on the internet, you can’t be surprised who sees it. Either your employer was also a manhunt user, or someone had to show it to him.

      Aug 9, 2010 at 11:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason Shellhammer
      Jason Shellhammer

      Hi, Jason Goldberg here, I’m pretty sure how we got sucked in to this article, seeing as how we planted it. But I’ll still feign surprise. Ready, here goes…

      Aug 10, 2010 at 2:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeff
      Jeff

      Funny how Queerty deleted my post from yesterday that outed Fabulis.com’s Bradford Shellhammer as the author of the article. Queerty obviously has something to hide!

      Aug 10, 2010 at 10:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brent
      Brent

      If Queerty is plugging fabulis, why do they point out an apparent privacy flaw of their site? people are delusional lol

      Aug 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PAPB
      PAPB

      Fabuloser is a joke of a site.

      Aug 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • C Castelli
      C Castelli

      Warning… I have had many problems with fabulis !!! computer crashes hacking and dealing with an arrogant guy named Jason Goldberg, who acted like I was lying to him about my problem and site problem…. also talked to other on the site with some of the same problems and another person told me that they were seeling all your info to others !!!! I suggest you stay away from him and this site !!! aLSO THE CONTEST ARE ” TROUBLESOME ” TOAY THE LEAST !!!

      Aug 14, 2010 at 4:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • C Castelli
      C Castelli

      SHOULD HAVE ENDED TO SAY THE LEAST

      Aug 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FouFou
      FouFou

      The guy in the black bikini is hot…

      Mar 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Keith
      Keith

      VERY interesting that I cannot get Manhunt.net to even come up anymore (just in the last few days…) I am a paying member, but I can’t even get TO the website to ask wtf the problem is with their server. I have attempted for two days to access my profile, but can’t get the site to even come up. I wonder if this is the issue…

      Nov 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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