Got your invitation?

If you’re in my email address book you probably have.

Sorry to burst your bubble but my ‘personal invite’ doesn’t necessarily mean that I meant to invite you. That’s not to say that I don’t want to check out what you’re reading, it just means that Shelfari is a more than a little sneaky in the way they harvest email addresses.

I won’t say that I’ll try anything once but I will try quite a few things.

I recently received a couple of invitations to sign up for Shelfari. They say on their front page, “Shelfari makes it easy to see what your friends are reading, what others with similar tastes have enjoyed, and even get and give book recommendations.”

I thought I’d give it a go so I signed up and added a handful of the books I’ve read to my shelf.

Then came the ‘Invite Your Friends’ bit. I gave Shelfari my Gmail details and it gave me two lists, one above the other. The top list was those who are already using Shelfari, the bottom list was the rest of my address book … my very extensive email address book.

As with all such ‘Invite Your Friends’ things it opens up with all contacts selected. I deselected most of the top list and then hit the button below that list. I didn’t hit the button below my full address book because I was new to Shelfari and wanted to try it out before inviting too many people.

Seems Shelfari had other ideas. As well as those I selected in the top list, Shelfari mailed the rest of my email address book from the bottom list. D’oh!

A quick Google search shows that I’m not alone in being annoyed with Shelfari and that other users have had emails sent off to ex-lovers and people with whom they’ve conducted extended email flame wars. Ouch!

So far I’ve only had one person respond negatively and she was very understanding when I emailed back to explain the situation. I’ve emailed Shelfari to complain but haven’t heard anything back as yet.

If you got an invitation from me and were annoyed by what you consider to be spam, I am very sorry.

Even though I didn’t press the button below the bottom list I still should have deselected the contacts before pressing the button from the top list. My silly fault compounded by what I consider to be a dishonest method of enlisting new users for Shelfari.

After Shelfari sent out another round of emails, which I specifically asked them not to, and failed to respond to the email I sent them, I have deleted my account. I refuse to deal with a company that has no regard for its users.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Haha too late. I already signed up and it managed to send the invite to the UWA BUG list which has about 200+ members. How embarrassing!

  • Rodney –

    I got the invite from you twice. One was to the e-mail that is mostly defunct from my old blog, when we first got connected. When I saw that one, I figured what had happened. That’s how it goes these days.

  • Hi Rodney – I too got the original Shelfari email and just this morning the second one. I was considering signing up, checking out the site and joining you, when I thought of coming by here to see what’s up and any posts you might have concerning them.

    My main reluctance in joining was time. Do I have time to dedicate to another ‘internet group’? Answer: No.

    I’m already signed up with and to date have 10 books listed. This is since June of this year. – I don’t think I’ll be getting any ‘top lister’ awards with them.

    I, for one, was not upset by the emails. In fact it reconnected me with your blog and I’ve got you in my favorites again. I’ll try to stop by more often – Paul –

  • Oh no, they send MULTIPLE emails? This is exactly what happened to me. I guess it makes me feel better to know I’m not alone…sort of.

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