Shelfari is LIKE a Virus

Lately I’ve received a few invites to join the social networking site Shelfari and share my book preferences with friends. So tonight I decided to sign up. It sounded fun. I went to the page and it asked me for access to my email account so it could farm addresses to send comparison invites to. I gave it access to my personal email account, not the one I use for blogging. It showed me my entire address book and told me to click on the contacts I wished to send invites to. I picked THREE people I wanted to compare books with.

The Safari website proceeded to send email invitations to EVERYONE IN MY ADDRESS BOOK — TWICE!!!!! This includes business contacts, filmmaking contacts, former college professors, friends, church leaders, people who’ve done work on our house, EVERYONE!

One of Dan’s coworkers emailed him to ask if I had a virus because he’d just received 2 emails from me. Ummm… yeah. I think I have a virus. It’s called Shelfari and I’m mortified. If you got one of those emails from me, please do not follow the link. I’m sorry for wasting your time.

I want to go back and delete my account or complain to the administrator but I’m afraid to log on to their buggy site again.

***Updated – see comment from Shelfari employee below. I’m glad to hear that there’s no malicious intent with the company, but I still want to steer clear. With bugs like they apparently have, I’m really wary of using their service or giving them any of my personal information.***

This entry was posted in get serious, Reviews, save me from myself. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Shelfari is LIKE a Virus

  1. I wouldn’t worry too much this has happened to most of us at one time or another. Why not open up a new Gmail account & use it solely for signing up for stuff like this that way you’re in charge no matter what bugs are on the site.
    I hope you’ve changed your password for your mail account!

  2. Veronica says:

    This has happened to a few of the contacts in my email. While mortifying for you, it is only mildly annoying for everyone else.

    I hope that everyone is laid back about it.

    Stupid networking site.

  3. grammyelin says:

    Sorry, Babe. But thanks for letting me know before I opened it up.

  4. Jessica says:

    Oh, I got this email from someone else about a week ago and never got around to opening yet–so thanks for the heads up!!!

  5. Shalee says:

    Go back and delete it, Kathryn. You weren’t the only one fooled by their gimmick. Fortunately for me, I refused to give them any names and that saved me from this same thing. I deleted my account and had no problems with them or their emails after the fact.

  6. Janssen says:

    I signed up last week, but I didn’t invite anyone and it hasn’t sent it to everyone on my list that I know of (my husband and both of my sisters haven’t received it). Still I’m going to go delete right now. . .

  7. Pingback: BooMama » Bloggy News That You Can Use

  8. Shauna says:

    I’ve used Shelfari for much of this year but would never give them access to my email account. I refuse to use Facebook’s Friend Finder feature either.

  9. Sallie says:

    I don’t even let yahoo messenger do this… I once had a virus on my computer and it was a bugger to get off. The computer was never the same afterwards. Glad that isn’t exactly what this was but they seem almost as bad sometimes..

    God bless,
    www .angelfire .com /sc /anderklan /blahblahblog

  10. sarah k. says:

    I went to check it out after I got the email from you, and I hope no one in my contacts gets spammed. I de-checked everyone, but I think I’ll take Amanda’s advice and change my password. I did delete the account with no problem, except it’s a little hard to find the delete account button.

  11. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the heads up!!

  12. Danny says:

    I just stumbled across your blog and found it pretty disconcerting. I am an employee at Shelfari and can assure you that no virus is present on the site.
    Apologize for the frustration and confusion.
    The intent of the invitations page is to make it easier for all Shelfari members to share the website with their friends, not to deceive you in anyway. We do note that on the invitations page that we do send a reminder email in the next few days. We proved an option in the invite to disable the reminder. Furthermore, we are happy to prevent any reminders we receive from members who accidentally sent invites to their entire address book. I hope this helps.
    If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at

  13. Annie says:

    Thanks for the warning, I came over from Boomama blog. I received it many times but I never responded. I am very wary about these things.

  14. Ree says:

    Wow. That just sucks.

    but hey, pretty nice of Daniel to contact you …. let us know how it works out.

  15. I am always wary of machines thinking and doing too much on their own.

  16. bek says:

    I have had at least three “invites” from them via the same way..peoples entire address book was accesses. Luckily we all get these and no one thinks that it really was you inviting them. Mostly we delete these things…..

    Shelfari needs to figure it out. That guy SAID there is no virus, but how do they explain this happening so many times then?

  17. Jennifer says: is wonderful site that serves a similiar purpose. I am really enjoying finding new books.

  18. OH! I got one of those invitations and I couldn’t figure out who it was from! YOU’RE the Kathryn! 🙂 I feel better now, because it said I knew you and I didn’t know who you are.

  19. loralee says:

    I did this with myspace (Don’t hate me. I was forced to have an account by family). Except, it was my own darn fault. I don’t know which was more mortifying…Having everyone know I had a myspace or that I was a dork and sent out invitations to everyone.

    I would be so ticked it that happened and it was their fault, not mine.

  20. Isabel says:

    No wonder I keep getting these invites. Thank goodness I haven’t signed up.

  21. Monique says:

    I hadn’t even heard of this site… Wow, someone’s out of the loop!! :S Now I have to go look it up, haha!!

  22. MollyCoddled says:

    I came over from Boomama’s and it’s like a dejavu all over again. Don’t let the shelfari employee fool you. It’s just a ploy to make people think they care. They don’t and they do this all the time. If you ask them not to send the follow up they will kindly tell you not to worry, it’s handled. Then they send the follow up anyway. I’ve been through this with two other friends. If they wanted to fix the way their site works they would have done it long ago. Sorry it happened to you too.

  23. Liz says:

    I was also incredibly wary of the Shelfari… after just being beaten over the head by the Quechep fiasco.
    I’ve not sent out any invites (again, see: Quechep), but I’ve accept a few from friends whom I know. And being a total book nerd (I own it!), I’m loving seeing other’s bookshelves.

  24. Great post. Let me start by saying I have nothing directly against Shelfari but I’ll share my personal view on this. Unfortunately in today’s race for new members in the Web 2.0/social networking world, there are far too many companies that will use any means necessary to tap into consumers email address books, repeatedly send them “reminder” emails about the service so they join. People at the end of the day then feel compelled to join, even for services they don’t ever intend to use. Its looks good statistically for those companies on the surface but when you look at the loyalty/use of the service from its members, it typically doesn’t add up. BookCrossing tried this for a couple months and I shut it down because our members were simply against it. We’ve enjoyed 6 years of organic and profitable growth because we have a “loyal and dedicated” community of bibliophiles and book lovers….we’re perfectly happy and content growing our business worldwide for book lovers that are engaged and excited about our service…If I don’t listen to them, they’ll vote me off the island:)
    much love,
    CEO BookCrossing

  25. I use Shelfari and love it. But I did my own inviting:-)

  26. Dianne says:

    I got a bunch of these from someone one time – she was embarrassed because i wasn’t even one of her invitees. She finally just cancelled the account.

    The Shelfari guy makes it sound like a small mistake, but I think this happens quite often. Nice idea, bad implementation.

  27. Emily says:

    I thought I’d let you know that I just got a Shelfari invite from my Bio100 TA. A class that I took over three years ago. I don’t think I ever even spoke to him.

    Made me think lovingly of you, Kathryn. I went to the site and sent a note telling them I highly doubted he opted in to have an e-mail sent to me. And they should get a clue. Nicely, of course.

  28. Tiana says:

    Can I have an invite Kathryn? I am interested to see what books you have read. Ps. your post made me laugh SO HARD> Thanks for the laugh and dont stress its not that bad.

  29. Found you via and was intrigued because I finally joined Shelfari after receiving a few invitations. I’m so naive, it never occurred to me to deny access to my email account. I just thought it was convenient. Live and learn, huh.

    Thanks for a great post. Adore your banner, by the way.

Comments are closed.