I've bitched endlessly about it on Twitter up to this point, so I thought it was time to put my cards on the table and lay out my issues with Recon in an easy-to-follow format.
Recon, by and large, has a monopoly on the kinky+gay demographic. GearFetish, Fetlife and other websites fall well short of Recon for various reasons. GF is marketed more towards "gear" and Fetlife, frankly, isn't compatible with The Way We Do Things™.
The problem, I suspect, stems from this monopoly and the fact that Recon is only being operated because it makes a profit. I wasn't around "back in the day", so the earlier history is lost to me, but Recon exists because business people saw a market and leapt. Compare this to GF and Fetlife, which are being built and operated by people who don't see it as a business (as far as I can tell).
Let me be clear though: This is all conjecture based on the evidence I've seen. Recon could be operated by people who spend more time in bondage than out of it for all I know. Things are not stacked in that direction though. Instead of being active and engaged with the community (like Chris of GF and JonBaku of FL), the Recon managers are content to just dump news articles on the front page. I'm curious as to whether or not they even have profiles.
A similar habit I take issue with is their abundant usage of Facebook. While some people exist in a world where real life and BDSM are the same thing, the majority of us kinky folk have to live two separate lives and Facebook is kept squarely in the "real life" side. Conversely, Twitter is a FANTASTIC alternative where we can be as openly kinky as we like, but Recon's only presence on Twitter is to push FB posts. Social media is not a one-way street from which you can just dump shit on your customers or clients. You need to be constantly engaged with your customer base. Just ask @forttroff, @mrsleather, @nastypig and just about every other company out there.
I'm a staunch capitalist and I applaud their pursuit of the almighty dollar, but Recon does it to the extreme. The standing policy is not to allow links or URLs in profiles (but they'll look the other way for premium members *wink*), ostensibly to fight spam*, but the reality of it is that users clicking on outbound links = less page(ad) views. Why allow IM profile links when you can use Recon messages (even unlimited, if you're premium)? This wouldn't piss me the hell off if they hadn't closed down the chat. Sure, running a flash chat server is computationally expensive, but there are plenty of alternatives that the Recon team is technically capable of implementing.
*which is funny, because now they're advertising "male enhancement" drugs along with other, less reputable items.
There's also the issue of the Recon iOS app, which hasn't seen an update in several years now. I'll accept that maybe they're worried that apple will finally drop the hammer on 'em, but I suspect the issue is that the ROI isn't high enough to justify it (even with the "Recon Men" category*). This isn't to mention the supposed "new" app that's in/near public beta. I applied for it the instant it was available and have heard absolutely nothing about it sense. And if you're on Android, don't hold your breath for an app anytime soon.
*incidentally, I fucking hate this category. Seriously, if you want a hookup, go use Grindr. Recon is for kinks and fetishes, sorry.
I apologize that this is somewhat ramble-y, but I'll sum it up: If Recon was another app in a more competitive market, it would have folded long ago. Products and the teams behind them aren't good if they aren't always improving. No one likes a stagnant product.
EDIT: Since I value discourse over ranting, if anyone from Recon or any other site would like to discuss these issues, I'd be more than happy to open a dialog with you. Just drop a line to email@example.com.