Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Suffering Shelfari Spam? Opt Out

Lately I’ve been getting a number of Shelfari invitations from authors who think I might be interested in viewing their virtual bookshelf. While I like to know what people are reading, I’m not interested in getting spam. There was a suggestion at Angie W’s blog that Shelfari overtook your address book and sent out the invitations without your consent.

This sounded so wrong that I was surprised I hadn’t seen something about it on one of the tech blogs I read so I signed up myself and emailed the company. You can opt out of sending invitations but you can also opt out of receiving them too. From the Shelfari folks themselves:

To remove yourself from receiving any future invitations to Shelfari, go

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Sarah McCarty
    Jul 23, 2007 @ 13:26:21

    Oh, thank you for posting this. I’m getting about 20 of these a day!

  2. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 23, 2007 @ 13:29:44

    Karen Kelley sent me this link and I love her for it. I had to go and get my webmaster to set up a filter on my website addy just to block the shelfari spam.

    And I thought Flixster was bad…

  3. Josh
    Jul 24, 2007 @ 12:13:41

    Thanks for the post about Shelfari’s opt out process. We have a link at the bottom of every invitation to allow people to prevent future invitations from being sent. Given the confusion, we will try to make the opt out notice at the bottom more clear in future invitation emails.

    We in no way designed Shelfari to force people to send invitations to their friends. While we make it convenient, we leave the decision entirely up to our users. There is a clear link to “skip making friends now� on the page where we provide the option of importing your email contacts. Importing email contacts is an optional step.

    We ONLY send invitations to the email addresses which are selected when the user clicks on invite friends.

    Please send us any suggestions to improve this process. The whole point of Shelfari is to share your books with your friends. For this reason we have made this process easy. At the same time, we really do want our product to be clearly understood.

    While a different genre then romance, check out the Harry Potter contest we just launched. We are giving away a signed first edition of the first book in the series.

    Happy Reading,


  4. Emily
    Jul 25, 2007 @ 08:23:52

    I checked it out after getting spammed. To send those emails you need to sign in with your gmail password and press a blue button (which happens to say INVITE). But as this stage is just after the account creation stage many people probably hit it by accident. IMHO if you give them the keys to your house you shouldn’t be surprised to find footprints on the rug. Just open an account without using your gmail password. Or better yet, use LibraryThing which allows listing of ebooks, antique books and other things not sold by their investor Amazon.

  5. Sean
    Sep 13, 2007 @ 10:14:49

    I got 5 invites from shelfari yesterday alone. Turns out my friends were conned into entering their gmail username and password. There is, of course, no way to skip that step, so the gullible ones fall for it and shelfari has the right to spam the rest of us unfortunate ones who are friends of the gullible.

  6. Murali
    Sep 24, 2007 @ 08:54:12

    I signed up for shelfari last week and this is how they trick you into getting your gmail ids. (p.s: and i have signed up for many things and have never been called gullible before).
    You finish signing up, and then you are taken to this next page.
    You are told you can invite people who are on your gmail address book and already have shelfari accounts to become your friends on shelfari. All fine so far. Then you enter your gmail id and password and in my case it gave me the email id of 5 people it said who already had shelfari accounts and were in my address book. Just below these 5 addresses was a button saying Invite. So, I wanted to invite those 5 people, and so I pressed the invite button. Now, here’s the catch. Scroll below the Invite button a lot, and you’ll find you entire gmail contact list selected, very deceptively. And there is no button below the entire list to invite these people. So, i assumed that the entire contact list were not going to be invited, since they are well below the invite button and you wouldn’t even see them unless you scrolled down the entire page. So based on their webpage design it appeared that you would invite only the people with both gmail and shefari accounts.

    To my suprise and horror, people whom I had never invited started joining Shelfari and many more started complaining to me. So instead of inviting just the 5 people I authorized it to, Shelfari blatantly invited every single contact of mine, including customer service email ids of a number of companies, ex-bosses etc. Now, I consider this unauthorized and spamming, and closed my Shelfair account and wrote to Shelfari and they said that people would not get further emails from Shelfari on my behalf, but two emails have been sent to all, so some damage has been done.
    Do people here know if there is any agency I can complain too. I would like to register a complaint, since I think Shelfari is guilty of over-zealous promotion.
    Thanks a lot

  7. Paramesh
    Oct 11, 2007 @ 19:12:16

    Please stop sending me e-mail communication.


  8. Michael Boyd Clark Journal/Blog - Blog Archive » Spam
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 08:45:29

    […] Suffering Shelfari Spam? Opt Out […]

  9. d. elzina
    Jan 30, 2008 @ 17:53:19

    I have unsubscribed to Shelfari, and STILL I keep getting invitations. This is a truly, evil, unconscionable marketing strategy. I hope regulators, US or California attorneys take a look at their practices. They are at a minimum unethical and deceptive. I would say it’s really closer to immoral and illegal, but I guess we’ll wait for legal outcomes.

  10. virender
    May 09, 2008 @ 00:37:03

    how to invite so many people

  11. nancy walters
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 23:27:21

    Online shopping is now a easy way of buying anything which they want by using the people want to know more about this.
    Its a nice post about the same thing.

  12. GaryM
    May 07, 2009 @ 05:53:39

    “Opting out” with a spammer is a bad idea. You’re just confirming that their mail is reaching you, which means you’ll get more spam.

  13. meme
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 09:37:59

    Good point. I’ve never signed, I’ve opted out ages ago and keep receiving spam from them.

%d bloggers like this: