Friday, January 30, 2009

The Worst Website Of All-Time - www.forestparkrunners.org

Yes indeed...This is my own opinion, and yes, this is the club that I (still) am a member of. Again that URL is http://www.forestparkrunners.org/

Go check it out! See for yourself what is in my opinion, a sloppy, disorganized joke of a website.

But before we get into THAT. ......

I am registered for this Sunday's race. I am not looking to set any records, but just have fun.

Okay.....back to the juicy stuff.....

In the past, I have used my blog as a vehicle to offer praise or critique things which are either important or trivial, relevant and irrelevant.

For over 4 months now, I've made numerous recommendations to our club that their website be updated and revamped. For many people, the Internet is a means for finding a running club. Otherwise, why else advertise, or even have a website at all? Many people today seem to forget the impact that a website can have. First of all it can be accessible by anyone in the entire world. This is an important fact that over the years may have been taken for granted through making the Internet the leading source for information. Yet, it still remains itself as a completely viewable source of information by ANYBODY. With this kind of unlimited exposure, the reponsibility to present the right image, is not a priviledge, but rather an obligation.

My advice to improve our website didn't just come from me. Several people, club and non-club members alike have mentioned to me about the myriad of problems with the Forest Park Road Runners' website. Comments such as, "GROSSLY OUTDATED", "LOOKS LIKE CRAP!", "AND YOU CALL YOURSELVES A REPUTABLE RUNNING CLUB?", were among the many that I received regarding my team's site. Rather than allowing my team to sink, I took the onus upon myself, and have been in touch with our club's communications person many, many times. And all I get is "Yeah, I know."

Back in the beginning of the year, I even copied our team President in an email where I blatantly expose how poor our club website is. To date, I have never received even so much as an acknowledgement.

Now, I know I am taking this way too seriously. After all, it's not like this is financial or medical website. This is recreational club. Still, I feel like no one cares. In fact, it's beginning to appear as if their negligence to act or respond is deliberate. I have to admit, stuff like that really bothers me.

In short, we have the worst running club website I have ever seen. I don't have enough time to pick apart every page, so instead I'm going to bitch about the main page which everyone sees. Since most people laugh us off just by what's on that page, I didn't think it was necessary to re-hash every page. Our home page alone has over a dozen issues alone . Here are six of them....

1) First, let's begin with the top of their webpage, which alerts the entire world as to when the next meeting is going to take place....




Am I missing something here, or did I see that the next meeting takes place almost 2 months in the past?

No. This is not a mistake. Just negligance on the part of the person handling the website. It is one thing when I forget to update something on my own blog, because hey, I am just representing myself. But in the case of the Forest Park Road Runners, who are supposedly representing themselves as a reputable running club, this kind of negligence undermines not only the club's competency, but to all who are a member of it.



2) For some time now, I had made a request to have this picture (left) removed from their website. And again, this was made to the club's "communications" person. Normally, I don't give a RATS ASS what I look like, but in this instance, I look like I accidentally ingested a junior-sized bowling ball.

Of course, my telling you and showing you this picture only propogates this. So why am I doing this? Principle. If someone has a picture of you that you don't like, and they have it posted for the world to see, and you let them know several times over 3 month period to have it removed, then it should have been removed! I think this is pretty wrong.


3) Here's another example of pictures that are WAY beyond their expiration date:

As you can plainly see, here is a picture of the New Years Eve Run. Except...it isn't the one that took place over a month ago. It is the one that took place a year ago.

Again, this is decorating our MAIN page for all would-be members to see. Fresh new stuff, ehh?

I'm sure everyone looking at this will admire the attention to detail that our club gives to its website. And I am doubly sure that most of these people will assume (and probably rightly so) that the rest of our club's affairs are going to be handled in more or less the same fashion too.

What a great way to promote a club than through outdated information, right? (sarcasm). At the very least, they could have taken 5 seconds to at least change the year title underneath. No doubt, the laziness is showing through with flying colors here.

And now, one of my favorites of all time....


4) Above all else, this (above) is my favorite piece of artwork on the internet. Don't you just love it? That too is on our MAIN page. I call it Parallel Line Paradiso.

5) Somewhere buried beneath Parallel Line Paradiso (above) is the ability to link to the weather. It's hard to spot because it happens to be in purple (Perhaps good viewing for monochromatic-seeing reptiles). I clicked on the link. Here is where it took me:

Seems to me like the weather is calling for hazy replies *err* skies, with a high today of 404.

Another brilliant example to current and potential new members alike.



6)Q: "I want to help my team win points! What dates are the next club point races taking place?"


A: "Go back to HG Wells time machine, my punchy apprentice! For there you shall see the current schedule of races...Current....Hah...Those races are over 3 MONTHS OLD!!!!

I could just keep going on and on and on. I even had created a race calendar through Google for my team and advised the "communications director" over at the club about it. All she needed to do was to plug the code in. It was mentioned numerous times beginning over 2 months ago and still nothing.

I used this blog, in the hopes that my requests will no longer fall on deaf ears yet I don't expect anything good to come out of it. We have a lot of nice people in this club, but in several ways the people in charge for "selling" our club are completely incompentent. If you want to meet some nice people, and enjoy running through Forest Park, then you really can't go wrong for the annual cost of $10 (still one of the lowest membership fees for any club). But if you are SERIOUS about your running, and want a well-run organization that focuses on running excellence, listens to its members, and makes sure that they show up-to-date and useful information about our wonderful sport, then stay FAR FAR FAR away from the Forest Park Road Runners Club.

Last note....not all local running clubs are created equal.

Here are some examples of some GOOD track club websites....

http://www.pptc.org/

http://www.apstriders.org/

http://www.nyflers.org/

http://newyorkharriers.com/

http://www.westchestertrack.org/

The sad truth is that every track club's website that I've seen is better than ours. Hell, even this stupid blogsite of mine is better than the FPRR site.

Sorry, Forest Park Road Runners....but your score for your website is an "F". An "F" for listening to your club members, an "F" for effort, and an "F" for impressing potential would-be members.

I might be thinking of leaving this club before the end of this year. And hell, judging by how little they care about their member's opinions, and of how inflexible they are, I am sure they will be happy to get rid of me too. Just the same, I'll be happy to join another team, if that's the case. More people to compete against, as far as I can see.....

2 comments:

DebbieJRT said...

Hey Alex!
I had stopped checking your blog when you said you were quitting. Imagine my surprise when I clicked the link on my blog (which is woefully behind the times) and your blog came up.
Thanks for the compliment on our website. It's no great shakes, but I think the most important thing is to keep it looking current. I whined at the club for the longest time before they let me administer the site.

Alex Gonzalez said...

I guess I'm like a boxer. I just never know how long "retirement" is going to last!

Thanks for feeling my pain, BTW. Funny thing is, THE WEBSITE STILL HASN'T BEEN TOUCHED. Perhaps this is the end of Forest Park Road Runners?

Several people have or are jumping ship. I can't say I blame them judging by the mismanagement that I feel's going on over there. Ugh.