July 20, 2007

Mea culpa — actually, no: Shelfari culpa

I am absolutely, terrifically, terribly sorry about the spamming Shelfari did on my behalf. If you didn’t get the apology email I sent out shortly afterwards, here goes: I logged in to check out the service, since, as an author, I like to stay on top of these kinds of things. While looking at their “find your friends on webmail” feature, I back-arrowed in my browser and it sent out invites to all 400+ people in my webmail address book instead. (Many of whom are probably reading this right now).

I have written to Shelfari and asked for their assistance in this matter, especially since now, days later, the stupid system is now sending out reminders to everyone that I spammed them using Shelfari’s dumb, dumb, dumb web app.

Should Shelfari decide to help me rectify this situation, I’ll take down this little note, which I’ve cross-posted to my Shelfari account and elsewhere, but right now, given how unprofessional this makes me look, they’ll have to delete my account before I’ll change my mind about it.

And I’m not the only one this happened to, either — a friend of mine had the same thing happen to her when she logged in.

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  • Cara

    I think it’s happened to a bunch of people. I keep getting invitiatons. 😉 Thanks for the heads up.

    Reply to Cara
  • Maureen

    I’m so glad to learn that this also happened to other people! It happened to my husband, sending emails to the entire University listsevs of two major universities. He is mortified. It somehow didn’t happen to me, maybe because I was already tipped off by him to be careful. He also complained to Shelfari, and they told him it was his own fault. I’m tempted to just cancel my account and blast them on my blogs, but I do like the idea of the service, and have already found some great books to read. Alas. What to do.

    Reply to Maureen
  • Matt

    You’re a gem, and I’m glad you caught me before I got my ENTIRE library entered! 😉 I was fortunate enough to [skip] the whole invite page without [back]ing over it, so I don’t THINK anyone will get too creamed on my behalf. Though, certainly, if it can happen, I’m likely one of the ones who will fall prey.

    Damn! And it looked like so much fun!

    Reply to Matt
  • Post authorShannon

    Actually, I’ve been keeping track on this and my other sites, plus email — at least 10 people that I know (alone! Imagine how many more there could be!) have had this exact same thing happen to them. Shelfari’s interface is appalling. I’ve been in touch with people from the company and I’ve offered them some concrete user interface solutions they could implement in order to keep this from happening, but we’ll see if that happens. Bah.

    I like LibraryThing better anyway. Find me there at:


    (I have a lot of my books in already, but not all… I have TONS of books).

    Reply to Shannon
  • Debby

    I went there but hopefully no one received emails from me. I liked the site but will not go back now for fear of hitting the wrong thing and sending out emails. Thanks for the heads up.

    Reply to Debby
  • Mortaine

    Heh– I hate those “invite your friends” things, for that exact reason! So sorry you got caught by their bad UI design, but perhaps others will learn from your experiences!

    Love your blog.

    Reply to Mortaine
  • Paul

    Yup… Did the same thing. Never been to the site before, now 1300 people have a personal invite from me. Pretty embarrassing. All my personal and business contacts (including a couple CEOs) just got the invite. I should’ve been more careful, but on a site that is so well-designed, I think that “trap” has to be deliberate. Obviously I am deleting my account (which requires me to email their customer service dept.)

    Reply to Paul

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