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Topic: Frustration with inactive accounts...minor rant

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Subject: Frustration with inactive accounts...minor rant
Date Posted: 6/21/2015 9:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,262
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I requested a book several days ago and so far no response so I just went and looked at the member's bookshelf and wishlist. Everything was posted or wished for on the same date in early 2013. Someone joined, listed their 10 books, wished for a few and probably forgot about PBS. That's over two years ago! It seems obvious it is an abandoned account...but why oh why has PBS not closed it? The book I requested is the only copy in the system so it looks like I'm just going to be out of luck and another book put on my WL. This is happening more and more and I am becoming more and more aggravated with PBS not taking a more proactive approach to all the inactive accounts. I am sure it is very off-putting to new members going thru a similar experience and it's making me rethink my future with PBS when my Standard membership expires in August. I know PBS is hemorrhaging members, you'd think they'd try to enrich the experience for the loyal members who are still here, posting and attempting to request books. Am I just grouchy or do I have a legitimate concern? Your thoughts please.

Date Posted: 6/21/2015 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,402
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As discussed in other threads, PBS definitely puts accounts on hold when the member is unresponsive after a number of requests. Problem is, if every book the member listed was popular, very heavily posted and not in high demand (or the opposite, more obscure but still not in demand) and their WL positions were really high, then it's possible they are just now coming to the top of FIFO. And unluckily, it's your order that's come up, though it may well be the tipping point for this member's account. 

As we say (rinse, repeat), "doing my part to weed out inactive accounts". Sorry, annoying, I know. it's been suggested that a periodic check-in system be implemented, but I think that would probably hold so many accounts right off the bat that it would skew the numbers PBS uses to maintain its credit/inventory bookkeeping system.  So it's better they allow them to drop off in a more measured way.

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,262
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As an advocate for a periodic check-in system, I agree that PBS is unlikely to do that for exactly the reason you state. 98% of the time I am the embodiment of patience but every now and then frustration bubbles over when I stumble across an account that is so obviously abandoned but still considered active. Just have to suck it up, I guess.

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,398
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PBS seems to close accounts in clusters. That said, an account that has no activity, such as no requests ignored, might not be flagged as one to close. The computer system looks for ignored orders, not failing to log in.

Your pain will help flag that account.

Unfortunately, we have 1550 posted copies of Dan Brown's book. There are inactive accounts hiding out there.

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 736
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They only hide because it is financially beneficial for PBS not to have a check in system. As noted a check in system would substantially reduce their membership numbers and attractiveness to a buyer or lender. Just cooking the books like most corporations. Nothing new.

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 2,912
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The problem with that is it's not whether an account has a log-in during a certain time period, but if there is failure to sign-on when a situation arises that needs a response. The thing is, if that is how they prefer to use the site and don't get a request/offer for 3 months (or longer), they are doing no harm and causing no delay by not signing in for those 3 months, so there is no reason to put them on vacation during that time.

It would make more sense to limit the number of missed transactions, which is reputedly how the system is set up now, and I'd be all for combining offers/request misses, since that is what causes the delay.

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 6:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 736
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Renee,

Respectfully I disagree. The changes with memberships in February changed the game plan and it is totally reasonable to requirre non members to confirm their status in a 30 day period. Failure to confirm  resulting in account being [put on hold. Lots of angry people enjoying gumming up the works and PBS should address it in a reasonable fashion.

Mary

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 8,161
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Reneeyes

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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The changes with memberships in February changed the game plan and it is totally reasonable to requirre non members to confirm their status in a 30 day period.

What would someone be confirming if they are not a member here? I am confused. Are you saying that A la Carte members should be required to confirm every 30 days that they still want to be be members? The simple act of not closing their accounts should be that confirmation.

The site shouldn't go with the assumption that every A la Carte member is a lazy, non-responsive slug who isn't going to respond to transactions and therefore need to be checked on repeatedly. It should be assumed that everyone here is here because they want to be and will be responsible members and only after actions that prove otherwise should they be bothered.

The sites do take action. On one of the sister sites that I maintain a WL but not a shelf (I can't remember which one) I had one item never show up and then a second show up a week late. When I logged in to my account to log in the second one I found my account on Hold with the item logged in for me. When I questioned it, the answer was because I hadn't logged into the account and done anything with either transaction (I didn't have anything to do with either one until I got it!). So only two transactions got my account put on Hold on that sister site.

Unfortunately, it is the nature of the site. Set it up too rigid and there would be less swappers, less books. A required check in isn't going to just weed out the deadbeat accounts, its going to also cut out swappers who don't want to hassle with it.

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2007
Posts: 1,131
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Just a data point:  I ordered a book, only one in the system, last month.  I looked at the guy's account and it looked dormant, so I thought, "OK, this will time out."  But the system closed the account within a couple hours and put the book on my wishlist.

Date Posted: 6/22/2015 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 8,161
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Plus standard members are letting books time out..I never understood it. I have had wl books posted, I respond that I want it and sometimes they time out. They're standard members, limited and an a la carte one..
Date Posted: 6/22/2015 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,325
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If a member has accumulated some credits, she might have an empty bookshelf, put her Wish List on auto-request, and only log in when she actually needs to mark a book received. I'm much more active on the site than that, but some members really don't check in unless they have a need to, and that's fine with me. They probably keep tabs on their emails better than I do.  indecision

I understand that perfectly, because there are other wonderful sites that I only check in occasionally. I only log in to Freecycle once a year, when I have tomato seedlings to give away. If my membership had expired, I might find a different avenue.

 

 

 

zeke68 -
Date Posted: 6/23/2015 7:54 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,810
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PBS could easily pause accounts that haven't been active for a specific period of time (say three months) and send an email asking them to click a link to keep their account active.  

 

Date Posted: 6/23/2015 9:14 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,534
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You have a legitimate concern.  IMHO there are a lot of inactive accounts.  I feel some wishlist books roll through several members before getting picked up.  Orders through FIFO just being ignored.  I don't know what the formula is for determining that a member bailed,  but it is annoying.  They should find a way to spruce things up for the members who stayed and paid/new members.  

Although I enjoy PBS and have no problem paying a fee,  I need to start getting some type of benefit for my fee.  Just this month alone I have mailed out over 30 books (about 1/2 and 1/2 multiples and FIFO wl books).  And I have got 0 wL books posted to me.  I am in a very dry spell of WL books, and I have a well stocked WL with popular books.  And I keep selling off my credits to stay at around 5 because I am losing faith.  In order for me to renew my membership, I will need to see some changes.  

Date Posted: 6/23/2015 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 8,161
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When it comes to WL books, it's like my used bookstore, if people don't read what I do, or it is popular but not mainstream then I'm not getting anything. (Here or at the used bookstore) I have wl books that have never been posted and the half price bookstore never sees them. I can't figure out why, I think they'd be great reads!:-)
Date Posted: 6/23/2015 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,262
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Just a data point:  I ordered a book, only one in the system, last month.  I looked at the guy's account and it looked dormant, so I thought, "OK, this will time out."  But the system closed the account within a couple hours and put the book on my wishlist.

That could have been the result of the member receiving the request and thinking "I don't want to do this anymore..." and closed his account himself. I wish more members would do that as opposed to just letting requests time out. Whatever the case, at least you didn't have to sit there for 5 days wondering if you will get the book. I honestly don't believe PBS will change their approach to inactive accounts but I also think that that attitude with contribute to a slow, lingering death of PBS. I have no problem paying for a standard membership as long as I feel like I am getting something back. Requesting books that are really are not available because the member abandoned their account does not make me feel like I'm getting my money's worth.

 

Date Posted: 6/23/2015 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 736
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What would someone be confirming if they are not a member here? I am confused. Are you saying that A la Carte members should be required to confirm every 30 days that they still want to be be members? The simple act of not closing their accounts should be that confirmation.

Not at all. What I am suggesting is that ala carte members who have not accessed their account since the institution of fees be sent an email to confirm they wish to maintain an active account. Failure to reply within 30 days would result in account being placed on hold.

Date Posted: 6/23/2015 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 8,161
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That should include standard and limited too then..I've had time outs with both those memberships.
Date Posted: 6/23/2015 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,262
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I agree that if someone hasn't logged on since the inception of fees should receive an email asking them to click on a link to keep their account active, but it will never happen...currently there are over 4 million books shown as being available for swapping. I bet that figure and membership numbers would be significantly reduced as well as "attractiveness to a buyer to lender" if a check-in requirement was put in place. It would make PBS look less viable. I don't want PBS to fail, I just want to post or request a book and have that accepted in a timely manner. Perhaps I just need to accept that there is a new normal here that requires even more patience than in the past.

Date Posted: 6/23/2015 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 2,912
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I am very strongly against a regular check-in, but I would be fine with a 1-time, since-the-inception-of-fees e-mail to confirm membership (that would include Standard, though maybe not Limited, since Gold Keys rolled over to Standard, while the Limited members had to actually choose that), give a month to be sure everyone had a chance to get it (in case of vacation and such) and then put non-responsive accounts on Hold, not delete them. Anything more than that is unfair to long-term users who may not need to check in more often and shouldn't have to if they're not causing a problem.