• C'est moi

    VP of Marketing & Communications for Rackup, but nothing here reflects what my employer or colleagues think. In fact, they probably think it's all cray-cray.

    Jackie Danicki
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Goodreads is evil

Looks like Nancy got quechup on her head thanks to the supremely customer-hostile Goodreads:

it asked me to set up a profile, which I did, and then it asked, do you want to see who on your yahoo! email list is already a member? And I clicked sure, and saw four people, and unclicked one who is a business acquaintence, and clicked, in order to be goodread “friends” with the other three, all well and good. And four minutes later, I get an email from a friend saying, she’s pretty busy but maybe she’ll look into it, and then another, and then another notice saying I am now friends with Luke Ford, and I realize, holy fucking shit, goodreads has sent an email, from me, saying, I want to know what you’re reading, to everyone on my email list, 168 people, some of whom I haven’t emailed with in years, and editors at magazines with whom I have only the most professional of relationships, and people who, I imagine, are just going to be baffled to have me asking, “do we like the same books?” If any of you are reading this, my apologies, really. Also, has anyone else ever inadvertantly done this?

Sadly, yes. It’s NOT your fault, Nancy. These sites deliberately scam people out of their contact book details, unbeknownst to the user. They are to be avoided at all costs. Add Goodreads to the list.

20 Responses to “Goodreads is evil”

  1. As my dear friend Liz wrote me (re: the goodreads spam that read, “I’d like to connect with you on Goodreads, so we can see each others books”): “All the more sad, since if a site is going to shit-spam the world, they should at least punctuate correctly!”

  2. I felt special until I read this… :(

  3. Hi Jackie,

    Hope this isn’t strange, but we saw your post and wanted to respond. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced. We have tried to make our address book importers as clear as possible, and will use the feedback in your post to continue to do so. We are dedicated to creating a quality experience for our reading community, and we hope you don’t hold this against us (too much).




  4. I’d like to respond here to Otis, to make clear what my experience was: I was asked whether I would like to see who on my yahoo! address book was already a goodreads member; there were four people. I unclicked one person, let the other three stand, and clicked submit (or whatever the button was; I cannot reaccess the page), whereupon the invite was sent to my entire address book, I saw NO question relating to whether I wanted to send this to all of my address book, which I most adamently did not; as mentioned in my post, I’m a journalist, and I really don’t think my former editor at Vanity Fair cares to hear from me, for the first time in two years, with a grammatically incorrect spam asking me what he’s reading. I was really pretty mortified all day yesterday. Now, there’s nothing I can do, but there IS something you can do, which is either make it EXTREMELY CLEAR — as in, the new goodreader of average intelligence will understand the action that’s about to be taken, in words along the lines of, “Goodreads is about to send an invite to everyone on your email list. Is this what you want to do?” Or, cease to take such a liberty. It’s really not fair to behave otherwise.

  5. Otis, I don’t believe you. I don’t give credibility to people who speak PR bullshit, and I am very certain that this was a deliberate ’strategy’ on your part to acquire new users. I’d bet anything. I’ve worked on websites for years, and before user registration goes live there is a rigorous QA process during which testers go through scripts and ensure that it is all kosher and user-friendly. I find it impossible to believe that your QA testers did not tell you how badly your registration sucks. Nor do I believe that you had no idea, until you read my blog, that people would not like you spamming their entire contacts database.

    In short, pull the other one, liar. I hope your business is destroyed.

  6. You know, I was terrified this very same thing would happen when I signed up for Face Book. But it seemed to be o.k. I wish I believed in hell for this guy to rot there. The unemployment line is pretty close, I’m sure.

  7. Otis, change your damn website.

    I was one of the people that received the e-mail from Nancy/your company and would have had the same experience when I was signing up if I hadn’t caught it at the last minute.

    It is sneaky the way you have it currently set up and not very clear that in one little step an email will go to ALL your contacts. It was an annoying experience, not user friendly. and felt dishonest to me. I would be PISSED OFF if that email had gone to all 681 of my contacts. As it stands, the experience freaked me out so badly that I haven’t and probably won’t go back to the site.

    It would have been inappropriate and very, very bad for my business if that email had gone out. You understand that right?

    So fix it. And apologize, but Jackie is right, don’t B.S. us nor make lame excuses.


  8. I just got an e-mail from Lizzy, who I don’t think I actually know. Maybe she’s a friend of Nancy’s? (I see she commented above.) But the e-mail made it sound like I’m on Goodreads — I’m not, and I’m worried and upset that I just typed my e-mail address in there like I forgot my password, and had joined but had forgotten.

    This is very sneaky and very creepy, since I’m not actually on there, and I resent the hell out of it.

    Here’s the e-mail below. Lizzy, do I know you, and did you intentionally send this to me? Or did they hijack your address book and Nancy’s perhaps? (I deleted my actual personal e-mail address from the code below, and substituted in DELETED.)

    hi amy,

    Nice to see you on Goodreads. I’m interested to see what you’ve been reading lately.

    http://www.goodreads.com/friend/i?e=DELETED@aol.com&i=LTM2MDY1MTY5ODE6MzEx &n=amy&utm_medium=email&utm_source=invite

    - Lizzy


    Please let me know if you

  9. Ah yes, Goodreads absolutely and totally tricked me tonight when I went to update my profile/contacts. I wonder if I will lose clients or business because of the way they have their website set up? If so, yes, I will be even more ticked.

    I am horrified and embarrassed that this email from goodreads went out and goodreads has caused me hours and weeks worth of damage control time explaining to business and personal contacts that no, I didn’t mean to add you to an auto robot email.

    Really ticked off. So ticked that I canceled my account and have gone over to LibraryThing which is a site that is 1000 times better, bigger and nicer than Goodreads.

    Goodreads is selfish and rude, that’s the only way to explain it. And since they have had issues and complaints with this as far back as fall of 2007 and haven’t changed then I can only loathe them more and no longer have patience or respect for them. At all. I wonder if they even care or realize the grief they caused me tonight?

  10. I sent an email to two friends from a GLBT website asking for GLBT book recommendations, Goodreads sent it to the world. Thanks assholes!

    I’m by no means closeted, living in gay friendly California, but what if I were military or a kid living in a fundamentalist compound or dealing with a homophobic work environment in a state where GLBT citizens are not protected? It’s a truly despicable practice.

  11. GoodReads is the worst because they try con you into thinking your friends are using the service. IF the US spam laws had any teeth, they would be in prison for a long time (1000’s of counts of interstate fraud). Here’s the email I got (how did I ever get on their list?): BTW, using the word love for your internet scam is just about the most cynical thing. Please, if any site deserves a DOS attack that shuts them down for good, they do.

    hi Peter,

    Hi friends, it´s Nina (aka Frances). Let´s connect and share book recommendations! Much love.


    - Nina

  12. I’ve just set our corporate email filters to block all inbound email from goodreads.com.

  13. GoodReads is still up to the same tricks. Someone I know and trust was fooled, and I *almost* was fooled, but when it asked me for my email password my bullshit detector went off. Always always think twice before allowing any internet service access to your email and address book.

  14. I was googling how to call goodreads when I found ur blog. I am so pissed right now. I clicked on uncheck all before I typed in one address to invite one friend, next thing I know its gone out to 505 people!!! Totally embarassed. Most of the people I don’t even know and most I don’t want to have access to my personal reviews and comments. Ur not alone.

  15. Oh my GOD, this just happened to me.

    I am so mortified!

    You can bet that i immediately quit Goodreads. UGHHHHH


  16. i accidentally joined GoodReads (because of the tricky email). I wanna quit, so checked the website but i can’t find the way…
    Is there any way to quit Goodreads?

  17. I was just googling “how to quit goodreads” and saw this post. I HATE goodreads. I cannot seem to delete my profile and I am constantly being spammed by them even though I have done everything possible to indicate I do not wish to receive mail from them. What a lousy site.

  18. Do you know what else “Good”reads does? They censor posts and reviews (not to mention trivia questions). They flat out delete them. No warning. There are a LOT of writers on Goodreads. A lot of those writers FUCKNG write on goodreads. As in, they do some very small part of their life’s work there, whether using the site as a reading diary or as a forum for discussion and information sharing with other writers. Not all of us are our best archivists. When something disappears without warning, one begins to looses faith in the permanence and thus in the seriousness of the forum as a whole. In concert with this mortifying spam business, they are beginning to disgust me.

  19. I mean “lose faith”. When one edits the tense of a verb in a sentence, he ought to do the same for the rest of the sentence. Yeah.


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