Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Goodreads and Bad Spam

I hate when this happens. And when you combine a technophobic personality (I know; I work in the IT world, but I've been faking it for 25 years) with a basic lack of attention, it seems to happen to me fairly frequently.

Here's the deal: A friend sent me an invitation to be a part of her Goodreads community. "What the heck is a Goodreads community?," I asked myself. So I clicked the handy link in her email to find out. The link informed me that Goodreads is an online community where folks can share with one another the books that have been most meaningful to them. Did I want to see the books that were most meaningful to my friend? Sure I did. So I created a login and a password (Mistake #1), and clicked the "Submit" button (Mistake #2). Up came a list of people with curious checkmarks next to their names. I thought, "Hey, isn't it wonderful that my friend and I know so many people in common?" What can I say? It was late on a Saturday night. I wasn't paying close attention, or I would have realized that my friend, who is from Ohio and 20 years younger than me, probably didn't know my high school English teacher in Crete, Illinois, or the guy who laid the tile flooring in our kitchen. I should have realized that those were my Contacts in that list -- all 438 of them. But I didn't. And so I clicked another magic "Submit" button (Mistake #3, and a big one) because I was impatient to move past the stupid list of names so I could actually see the books my friend liked. And every single one of those 438 contacts received email from me, asking to be a part of my Goodreads community. I'm sorry. I don't want to have a Goodreads community. I love books. I read them all the time. And I love all my contacts. Okay, I respect some of them, and loathe one or two, but they're relatives. But honestly, I have better things to do with my life than assign star ratings to my favorite books.

The good news is that I've now heard from more than a dozen people I haven't heard from in years. Ex-bosses. Former CCM stars. Which is kind of cool. But if you received that email from me, I apologize. I didn't mean it. Some 284 people on that list have added me as a "friend" in the past few days. Again, this is good, I suppose. I was their friend (or respected acquaintance, I reckon), and now I'm their virtual "friend." I've had more than 1,000 books recommended to me. Someone make it stop.


Anonymous said...

yes, this is what i was talking about! the millions of goodread emails telling me that so-and-so just posted a book they're intending to read and would i like to check out just exactly what that book is?

and how on earth do you make it stop?

Patti said...

this is exactly how you ended up getting the invite from ME! i almost DIED when it sent invites to everyone i know!

it's a cool site, but the tricking people into signing up is horrid.

mg said...

i was wondering about it once i got your email...but since goodreads is something i was bound to check out sooner or later i was glad to sign up.

hopefully it will help me continue on in books once i'm finished with the adventures of mr. potter.

Anonymous said...

Hey Andy,

Hope this is Ok to post here, but I often check out Goodreads blog posts.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced. We have tried to make our address book importers as clear as possible, and please be assured we will use your feedback to continue to do so.

- Otis


Joel said...

I'm just hurt that you didn't actually care what books I'm reading. :)

Dana said...

So, what are you reading? I love Joel's comment.

chelsea said...

andy! thanks a lot. i love good reads. (and you can turn off the emails if you want.) are you saying that i DON'T have better things to do than rate my books? it happens to be fun. :)
we're having a conversation about this next thursday.

Anonymous said...

Goodreads is still spamming:


Spread the word. Another address book hijacker, Mamasource.com

Anonymous said...

I got an email from someone today with the link to goodreads. I was clicking through to actually get to the site and suddenly get " an invitation has been sent to all 800 emails in your address book." WTF???

I'm doing some research and it appears this has been happening for years. There are posts from 2007 complaining about this with this asshole Otis saying "sorry if our interface was unclear but we will use your feedback to improve it" (see his comment here). Well obviously it hasn't improved in 2 years so he is a liar.

Someone else tracked him down in case you want to contact him directly:

953 4TH ST
(310) 260-0145