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November 12, 2007



Very good. I think this was overdue, but now I can back off from my anti-Shelfari stance a bit. Thanks for the fix.


No, you're not done -- do NOT check all the boxes by default. The odds of someone wanting to send an invite to everyone is slim to none.

Leave the boxes unchecked, and let the user check on the ones he/she wants to send.

shelfari = spam

Deane's comment seconded.

Michael Buckbee

I'd agree with the other two commenters that "checked by default" is a bad move as it is likely to lead to unintended emailings = spam.


Thanks for your comments. We do pre-checked boxes, as does Facebook, and most other quickly growing social networking sites.

We will continually monitor our spam complaints and also our numbers. If we find that too many people are making mistakes with the pre-checked boxes, we will consider changes.


In the biz, this is called opt-in and opt-out. Opt-in (where you have to check the box) always yields better quality users. No surprise, opt-out (user has to uncheck the box and your current design) yields much less quality (and frequently complaints of spam). While some sites out there still do opt-out, it is no longer the industry standard for marketing initiatives. It has a bit of a bad feel to it. It's your decision, of course, but having worked for internet companies for ten years, I can tell you that you will grow fast but have a largely inactive user base. While a large userbase number looks good on paper, when it gets compared to to ad/book sale revenue, it will be painfully obvious (to investors, for example) that your opt-out strategy has generated a low quality list.


Thanks much for fixing this, you all. I'll make a fifth vote for the Opt-In model (thanks for your cogent comment, Josh), and agree with Deane that you're really only half there with the format change.


Correction: thanks for your cogent comment 'Dikonstrukt,' (and as for your previous comment about me being a 'librarything fanboy,' I am familiar with a number of social cataloging sites, and take a strong interest in this area; it pains me to see unfair practices coming to the fore. Expressing my criticism of Shelfari hardly makes me some sort of librarthing agent - unlike the agents under shelfari's employ sent forth to market their site under false pretenses (http://www.librarything.com/thingology/2007/11/shelfari-astroturfing-evidence.php)

Yeh, I'll admit it: I tend to like the guys who play fair, and think there's still room for a little integrity in the book 'biz.' More fool I, I guess.


Here's another vote for opt-in (boxes NOT pre-checked). This is one of the things I really dislike about Facebook, and would much rather see Shelfari break from the social-networking pack in this regard.

Nancy White

It is good to see the clarification. (I'm still dealing with pissed off and confused friends after sending to 900+ without understanding what I was doing.)

I will chime in that moving to unchecked boxes gives you a higher quality of participant and raises your own street cred.

Even though others are using the default checked box, that does not mean it is a good strategic decision that yields you better results over time. With more and more people using the checked box, suspicion will rise and use will probably decline.

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