Report: #841169

Complaint Review: Swap-Bot - Internet

  • Submitted:
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  • Reported By: Trekster — Chicago Illinois United States of America
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  • Swap-Bot Internet United States of America

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Swap-Bot was once a fun and cool place to swap things with people from all over the world, but lately it's become a place to fear if you're not into cliques. Please take the time to read this message of warning.

Swap-Bot can be fun if you have the right kind of personality. If you're a bully, stalker, harraser, tormenter or the like, then go join because Swap-Bot is for you! Rachel and Travis Johnson have a wonderful idea going, but they're going about it in the wrong way. They want to reap all of the rewards of having a big and successful website like Swap-Bot is, but they don't want to be bothered with offering security, protection, or problem solving. It's basicly "play at your own risk" in every sense of the saying. However if you happen to be in the top "clique" of SB members then the normal rules of Swap-Bot don't apply to you.

The public forums or "PF's" are the source of 80-90% of all the problems on Swap-Bot. If you read the rules you'll see that there are restrictions on what you can post or what you can say on the forums, but these rules are only ever applied to users outside of the clique. When a rule is broken you will see that Rachel (who deals with all administrative issues) never intervenes, but instead the clique will take up the responsibility that they have not been given! They will bully, harass, belittle, degrade, name call, and stalk people who rub them the wrong way.

Now I'm not saying that only rule breakers are treated this way, in fact it's quite the opposite as most of the victims of bullying don't have a mark against them except that they commented the wrong way on the wrong thread. Let me elaborate on that...user "A" has posted that a newbie (new user) has given her a negative rating for not sending. She goes on to say that she in fact didn't send the item, but that her record should allow her some wiggle room.

Well unfortunately a helpful but naive newbie posts that maybe it's fair because that's how you're supposed to rate when you don't receive. This newbie doesn't realize that the user that pasted in the first place is a member of the clique, and before she knows it all of the other clique members are posting against her, calling her names and such. She tries to appologize but it's too late. Once they have their claws in you they won't let go. I've seen this happen so many times myself and so many new users are driven off the site by this type of harrasment. Later on a newbie will post that she's gonna be late on a few swaps because her father died, and the whole clique will come down on her for being a flaker (non-sender). Fair huh? Where's Rachel in all of this...who knows!

An even scarier problem is the illegal passing of private addresses and information by the "SB detectives". Yes I meant DETECTIVES! There's a group called SB detectives and I have inside information (from a former member) who told me that they pass around addresses, phone numbers, pictures, and any and all information they can dig up on users. We're talking about some people who haven't even done anything wrong!

Some of these people have contacts within police departments and they actually use these contacts for information on their latest victims! Things like this are supposed to be strictly prohibited on Swap-Bot, but are allowed to happen without a single back glance. I know for a fact that when a herassed member finally blocks their agressor, they are then harassed on other web sites. They are followed and constantly bombarded with rude messages. Nowhere is safe! Why won't anybody do anything about this???

In ending I'll say that the question of why Rachel doesn't make Swap-Bot a pay site is often brought up in the PF's, and I think I have the answer. Rachel knows how strictly she will be monitored if she asks people to pay, and she knows she'll have to tighten up on these gruesome harrasment techniques she's allowing the clique to use. She's not willing to do any of that so Swap-bot will remain a free site. Please be careful in joining, and if you do...STAY OFF THE PUBLIC FORUMS! You're playing with fire otherwise.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/17/2012 08:24 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/swap-bot/internet/swap-bot-rachel-travis-johnson-site-owners-cyberstalking-cyberbullying-harrasment-i-841169. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#7 Consumer Comment

Swap Bot

AUTHOR: Bohemian Princess - (United States of America)

POSTED: Saturday, February 18, 2012

First of all I dont know why you are filing this report for a consumer complaint, Swap Bot is free,therefore you paid  nothing for services.  I am a original member and I feel I need to give some input. I would say on any, or maybe all forums, groups, chat rooms, of any subject I have been associated with since being onlin,e I have to say I see  bulling,private groups,cliques, harassment etc. Actually when I go to work or college I see that also. That is life when people get together.I can only recall one person sending me a rude message on Swap bot ( no im far from being in any elite group there),but they had just got caught flaking big time.

 I see many talented artists and craftspeople on Swap Bot. I have learned so much over the years and I think  I have improved as a artist. I have had people encourage me when Im down, offer me help when I hit hard times,offer me moral support when my parents passed away. I got little of that in real life. Yes the Public forum's are sometimes drama filled but go read almost any forum on any site. You do not have to participate in the forums to swap. I have had people disagree with me on the forums but so what its their right, as much as I had the right to state my opinions.Once a person has been at swap bot you tend to be a good judge in character and can spot a fake a mile away. I have disagreed with  some people but then later in time we have worked together in some project to help another swapper out. People at Swap bot are my extended family, sometimes we love each other sometimes we don't , that's part of being in a family.
As far as the Swap Bot  detectives, I pretty much have to say if  you dont break any rules,why worry about them?  For your information almost anyone who knows how to online can track you down,find your home address, phone number ,place of business etc, welcome to the online world. Have you been on Facebook,yahoo messenger,? I have more issues there then I ever had Swap Bot. Rachel tries hard to make Swap Bot a safe place to be. Did you ever contact her? She does try to to look at all sides of the story when there is a issue btw. The people that complain are the ones who generally got caught doing something wrong. There is a newbie group that helps people out when they first get started,there are many people willing to help a person out when they have questions. Yes people will stick up for their friends, wouldn't you?

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#6 Consumer Comment

a great site

AUTHOR: candyn29 - (United States of America)

POSTED: Saturday, February 18, 2012

This is a site where artist, crafters, and penpal seekers go to trade such items. I have only had positive experiences and am happy I joined in 2009! I am not in any clique and the "swapbot detectives" don't do anything wrong!

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#5 General Comment

perspective - or perhaps "with a grain of salt"

AUTHOR: MamaBear - (United States of America)

POSTED: Saturday, February 18, 2012

I would like to add that readers of this absurd report should consider the source or take what he/she said with a grain of salt.  The author of the report left swapbot with TWO HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE 1's.. which means that he failed to send what he agreed to TWO HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE people - AT LEAST (that's not counting people that failed to rate him). He received 235 packages for free while stiffing others.  He was then removed from the site - for what amounts to stealing.  So basically this is his/her retaliation for the admin doing what he claims they dont attend to.  No admin isn't perfect and I have issue with them myself (I feel they could be more present and more proactive) - BUT this report is not on the up and up and shouldn't not be held up as an example of swapbot...

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#4 General Comment

Complete BS

AUTHOR: VivaLaDiane - (United States of America)

POSTED: Saturday, February 18, 2012

I have been a member of Swap-bot for over 4 years now. This report is actually comical to me. The public forums of Swap-bot are a complete option and you don't ever have to contribute one word or read one post there to be a member. I have a few personal friends who have joined Swap-bot. They have been members for about 3 years each now. In all of that time, they have no clue what the forums even are. The swap their swaps and communicate with their partners. They don't even read group forums they are in. It isn't required. They just SWAP, after all that is the intention of Swap-bot.

The forum rules of Swap-bot state that the forums are not moderated and will not be patroled or censored.  Conduct on the forums can get ugly especially when users get booted off of the site for a number of reasons (most general fraudulence) and then return (fraudulently) as someone else, using another name/po box/ etc. The so called "Detectives" on Swap-bot have kept the site safe guarded against this fraudulence. The only people who'd find issue with this would be the criminals themselves. Personal information isn't shared in the way mentioned at least not that I've witnessed. In the groups that protect against flakers, there are specific rules forbidding sharing addresses (beyond name/city/state) or any other personal information. A person who takes it upon themselves to investigate someone is not against any rule. The internet is full of liars and theives and some people are simply trying to protect themselves and their communities.

What Swap-bot IS daily is a wonderful place. We, as a community of tens of thousands, come together for people. When they're flaked on, when their pet dies, when their parents die, when their partner treats them bad, when they have nowhere else to turn. The good outweighs the bad. Any member of the community who has been there a significant amount of time without any problems, can tell you that.

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#3 Consumer Comment

Swap-bot MIrrors Real Life

AUTHOR: ACrafter - (USA)

POSTED: Saturday, February 18, 2012

I am an original member of Swap-bot and have a pretty good perspective of the ever evolving community over the last 6 years. The person who wrote this report has a single, short term perspective of the website and really should go back and read the rules again. Rachel & Travis have made it very clear that it is an self directed community that respects freedom of speech, with few restrictions. If you need a babysitter to protect you while on the site, it likely isn't the site for you. This is a self directed community of adults who come together to share swaps, ideas, and stories of their lives.

This website and it's public forums, are a true reflection of the community in which we live. There are some cliques, there are complainers and whiners, and people who try to hurt others. Also, like the real world, there are those who reach out to help others who might fall victim to those who try to rip off other swappers. The format of SB requires some trust in our fellow human beings, to do what they say they will. Just like the real world, when that doesn't happen this SELF DIRECTED community comes together to "out" the thieves and more importantly, they make the victim whole by sending swaps that the perpetrator commited to sending, but didn't. So, your one sided version of what happens on SB is disingenuous. You obviously are not the type of person who does well on their own in a self directed community of adults.

Moreover, you make many assumptions about Rachel & Travis, when you likely have never spoken with them. How could you possibly know what their plans are for SB or what their business model is? With the current model, they are probably lucky to break even each month. Posting information as thoough it were facts, to which you are not privvy, is tantamount to lying.  Perhaps you would be better served in a more controlled environment on a different website. This one is for adults who do not have a thin skin.

My experience on SB has been very different than yours. I have seen first hand, how Rachel & Travis deal fairly with those who try to harm others on the site. How they work very hard to stay neutral and allow the self directed community of adults, resolve issues. This has made my time at swap-bot and on the public forums, a very pleasant experience. But, most importantly, I have also learned to ignore those posts on the forums that are insidious, just as I ignore those people in real life.

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#2 General Comment

Swap-Bot Is Wonderful

AUTHOR: justined0414 - (United States of America)

POSTED: Saturday, February 18, 2012

Swap-Bot is a wonderful website and it shocks me that anyone would file such a nasty report. Sure there can be problems but the site administrators do the absolute best that they can. They get hundreds of emails every day and just because they do not immediately respond, does not mean that they do not care.

The people who come here and file reports are usually the "flakers" (people who sign up for swaps promising to send and once they get what someone else sent them, they do not acknowledge it and do not send out their own items) and then get caught and called out. The website it based on the honor system, and when the people who do not follow the honor system, and get called out, they get mad and do things like this.

It really saddens me that someone would come on here and report this website after all wonderful things have come from it. Shame on the person who posted this. 

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#1 Author of original report

The flame has been fanned.

AUTHOR: Trekster - (United States of America)

POSTED: Friday, February 17, 2012

Touble brews already on SB because of this article. Whining to be exact. To set things straight, yes I am a current member on SB trying to enjoy myself. It's not easy to be a man on this site but I make it work. I think SB has great potential, but not without a serious revamp. Rachel needs to crack down on this clique. She may not have told them they have authority, but they are sure operating under that assumption.

What I described as "getting information from cops" was not meant to single out the SB detectives group only. Many members not even a part of that group have written in past forum posts of having friends who work in the police department, and that they will ask them for information.

If you're a SB member reading this and you get upset, then please stop and ask yourself why? Is it because the truth hurts? I truely hope whatever entity governs websites such as this opens up an investigation into my and many other claims. This is serious! I hope that SB can overcome this ordeal and be better for it, but Rachel needs to think really hard about how much she want's SB. Please clean up Swap-Bot Rachel!

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