Frienditto

This is a page with two aims - the first it to explain exactly why using Frienditto is a very poor idea, and the second is to show you how to use the tools that allow you to investigate the credentials of a website for yourself.

The major problem with this particular site is what it does - it allows people to archive copies of posts made to an online journalling service; now *that* wouldn't really be a problem, indeed, it might be considered to be quite a useful service. However, as well as archiving an individual's entries, it will also archive entries of that person's defined 'friends'; including entries made in such a manner that they should only be seen by people specified by the author. The archives, including the entries that the author intended to only make available to specified people, it creates are publically available. OK, there are some simple lessons to be drawn from this ie. not to give a username and password you use on one site to a third party site, without being absolutely sure that you trust that other site, that the default position when you meet a new site should be that you *don't* trust it until you're given good reason for doing so and that you should exercise care in deciding who you trust in terms of giving access to entries you don't want publically available online

As bad as this is, it gets worse. When you're investigating a website, you want to start with the Who is data. Who is services allow you to find out who owns a domain, when it's due for renewal and the identity of their ISP. When a site is owned by a company (as opposed to an individual) you should also get contact details. So a Whois look up for Frienditto gives this result: Whois for frienditto.

Next in your list of tools is Google. Googling for Sherrod DeGrippo - the registrant for Frienditto at the time I first carried out this search (see below), is a reasonable place to start: Google search for Sherrod DeGrippo - remember to use quotes in your search to make sure you're only searching for exact matches to your search term.

This google search led me very nicely via Amalea's Talk page and Girlvinyl's page to the conclusion that the site Encyclopedia Dramatica is run by the same person as Frienditto. The content of Encyclopedia Dramatica is sufficient to make me very wary of anything run by this individual. The most striking example is Encyclopedia Dramatica on LiveJournal Abuse - you don't need to know anything about the truth of that article to draw the conclusion that someone who allows that kind of material to be published on a website she runs is unlikely to have the best interests of LiveJournal users at heart.

Enclycopedia Dramatica also leads one to discover that Sherrod DeGrippo runs a site; Girlvinyl. Looking at the front page of this site, one can see that she has links to LJ Drama. A quick look at *that* site, should be enough to convince anyone they don't want to get too involved with anyone involved in this. I don't think it's widely inaccurate to conclude that the purpose of Frienditto is to create a public archive of posts that can be used on LJ Drama.

The Whois data for Frienditto now indicate that the registrant is an 'Andrew Thornton'. Googling for '"Andrew Thornton" ljdrama', brings one right back to Amalea's Talk page; my analysis still stands.

So there you have it ladies and gents - proof that you don't want to trust Frienditto and some information on how to research the integrity of a site for yourself - hope it proves useful.

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