Thursday, March 5, 2009

Goodreads - GOOD, Shelfari - EPIC FAIL

Apprentice Writer received an email 'friend' invitation to exchange book recommendations on Shelfari. She knew nothing about Shelfari beyond occasionally seeing the graphic on different blogs, displaying books the blogger had read.

Since the person sending the invitation was a blogger known to AW, she trusted that the invitation was genuine. And having received a similar invitation in the past to friend a fellow blogger at Goodreads (a similar online book recommendation and personal library catalogue community) and been very happy with the results, AW clicked on the link and was transported to the Shelfari site.

One step in the registration process showed a number of email addresses (should have been interpreted as a warning sign right there), apparently plucked from AW's addressbook, with the question of whether AW wished to extend a friend invitation to those addresses. AW indicated her wish NOT TO DO THAT. There was no possibility of pressing mistaken button due to distance apart. The next screen then informed her that she was now waiting for a bunch of people to respond to her friend invitation.

?????????????????????????????????????????

AW fired off an email to Shelfari HQ reporting on what had happened, and expressing unhappiness about it. Two weeks have gone by without any acknowledgement. Yet an email inviting her to finalize the registration process has arrived.

AW then sent emails to those people whose email addresses she recalled seeing in that list to explain what had happened, and that if they had received a Shelfari email (they had) it was not actually sent by AW.

Finally, AW sent an email to the original inviter asking if she really had intended to send the invitation. She had, but said that she had sent such invitations only to book-related friends yet other people in her addressbook had also received messages.

Conclusion?
No matter how pretty the Shelfari graphic is
- invasion of privacy and acting against participants' wishes is too high a cost.

Goodreads, by contrast, is user-friendly, respects the wishes of partipants, and does not pester with too-frequent general messages.

In AW's opinion
- Goodreads = good, Shelfari = Epic Fail.

8 comments:

Holly said...

You know, I'd completely forgotten until you said something, but the exact same thing happened to me when I signed up for Shelfari ages ago. I've since stopped using it (don't even remember my login info) but I remember being furious that it had sent invites to my entire address book.

I agree about Goodreads. So far I'm very happy with them.

Abby said...

I'd heard that about Shelfari - that's why I stayed away. Personally I use LibraryThing and I love it.

Wylie Kinson said...

EEKS - I do NOT like the sounds of that...

Julia Smith said...

Epic Fail is a perfect reaction, AW. Shelfari doesn't care how many people it annoys as long as it picks up visibility in the process.

Nalini Singh said...

Non-posted related comment (but good news!): You won the Darkborn ARC on my blog contest. Congrats! :)

M. said...

Wowsers - five comments! Who knew this would be such a thought-generating topic?

Holly - your avatar is very unique and memorable. I really must get around to creating one.

Abby - I didn't know about Librarything, either. Must go look.

Wylie - Stay away, stay away!

Julia - how can they not care? doesn't it chase business away?

And, be still my heart -

NALINI SINGH CAME TO MY BLOG! I think I fainted for a very brief time when I saw that name. Yowza. New Zealand - so far, yet so close!

Tiffany Chalmers said...

I lurve Goodreads! I've used it for just under a year, and can't find a bad thing about it. Shelfari I tried through FB, hated it, and it was hard to navigate. Too hard for this mac user! I will continue to stick with Goodreads. I've received a number of invites from shelfari but have deleted them .

M. said...

Hi Tiff! Yes, Goodreads is very nice. I should really explore the site more.