I get these e-mail solicitations from Classmates.com and have to shake my head. I can’t figure out their business model. They keep notifying me that somebody has signed my guestbook, and aren’t I just a little bit curious to see who it is?
Let me put it this way: No.
Classmates.com is apparently unaware of this other method of finding people from your past: Google. That one, I believe, is still free. As is e-mail. As is Facebook. Anytime I feel tempted to click on the link that takes me to Classmate.com’s list of blurred-out names and “gold” membership upgrade, I recall that anyone with the slightest interest in getting in touch these days can easily do so without the middleman. I figure anybody unimaginative enough to go around signing proprietary guestbooks is an even bigger dork than I am — and therefore someone I have no interest in meeting.
Besides, when I reflect on people I knew in high school, I can count on one hand those I’m even slightly curious about. This is because I’ve attended nearly all of my high school reunions, and I can testify that people don’t get more interesting with the passage of decades. Far from it. Generally we’ve all spent the intervening years dutifully becoming less interesting, and, with certain exceptions, less attractive.This is the other flaw in Classmate.com’s strategy: they’re selling damaged goods.