Sunday, October 09, 2005

Gay.com stops charging for premium services!

I guess this news is a couple of days old (gay.com - We're FREE), but I've only just noticed it. Premium membership on gay.com is now free! I can't help wondering what's behind this move. If I'd just renewed my premium membership on gay.com I'd be pretty annoyed.

There must be something of a war going on between gaydar and gay.com, the two main online cruising web sites. One of my earliest blog entries back in February 2005 compared gay.com to gaydar (gaydar.com is better than gay.com). Since then I reckon gay.com has become even more annoying, until now perhaps?

Up until a couple of weeks ago, if you were in a gay.com chat-room, you would regularly be contacted by adverts. These were computer programs that would appear in the chat rooms as though they're real guys. They'd contact you saying something like

hey dude

and whatever you type back to them they'd come back with something like

check out my web site at http://www.BigDickedHunksFuckEachOther.com/

I found these porn adverts intensely annoying, and no doubt I wasn't the only one. But the last couple of times I've been in the gay.com chat rooms, these adverts weren't there. The plot thickens; what’s going on at gay.com?

I had thought that the adverts were porn companies who had found a way round the gay.com security, after all, surely no respectable web site would allow adverts to hassle their members? But given that the adverts were a permanent feature, now apparently gone, coupled with gay.com going free which proves it's revising its business strategy, I can only conclude that gay.com was getting paid for allowing the porn adverts in.

I'm not sure when it happened but gaydar has recently altered its charging structure too. Previously, even non-paying members could view all photographs posted in the profiles. But within the last few months, they've altered the rules, so that now you need to be a paying member to see any photos with adult content. This is exactly how it used to be on gay.com - you needed to be paying for premium services to see adult photos on a profile.

So in summary, just as gaydar makes less of its content available to non-paying members, gay.com goes the other way and makes all its content free. Fascinating. A war is definitely going on.

Hopefully, the guys like me who use these web sites will be the winners. My guess is that the inferiority of gay.com compared to gaydar has gradually eaten away at the gay.com user base (e.g. Chinese moving from gay.com to gaydar?) so that in an effort to hang on to their existing user base they've taken some drastic action and started giving away premium services. What will gaydar do now?

I've always been anti gay.com and pro gaydar simply because of the quality of the gaydar service when compared to gay.com. But it would be a sad day if gay.com dies, simply because gaydar will then be able to charge what it likes. So let's hope that this is the start of a significant improvement in the services that offered by gay.com.

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