Goodreads Feedback discussion

281 views
Suggestions & Questions > Recommendation considered spam

Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Katy (new)

Katy (KatyaS-69) | 32 comments Recently I got into a discussion with several people, and it appears to be a common feeling that recommendations from authors that are not known to the person receiving the recommendation (i.e., not at least following or friends) is considered by many to be spam. From my reading of the ToS, these recommendations are "discouraged" but not forbidden. I encouraged the people having the problem to come here and bring it up, see if the wording might be toughened up to help with that problem, and was subsequently insulted and blocked by them. *shrug* Personally, I don't consider it to be spam, but it seems to be a common feeling among a lot of people I quite respect and since no one else seems interested in taking this up, I figured I'd pop in here and see if this something that might be considered; add wording to the ToS that authors should not send out mass recommendations, or recommendations to people they don't know, rather than the current wording. It might save some heartache on the parts of authors who are only trying to promote their books, not realizing that to some people, a single recommendation is one recommendation too much. Thoughts?


message 2: by Petra X (new)

Petra X (PetraX) | 5937 comments The discussion is here. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

In case no one wants to read the mega discussion on it, let me sum it up. I got spammed by a recommendation from an author I didn't know whose genre I do not read in a format (kindle) I do not own, and wrote a review which was what I thought of getting spammed (by any author, it wasn't personal). I then got some comments from like-minded people who had also got spammed by this author.

Next I get trolled. Katy then joins the discussion and defends the author for spamming because she only did it once (per victim) (although she has been doing this for two years now) and because author recommendations of their own books to random strangers are only discouraged, not forbidden. The discussion went on more or less politely for some time. Someone then pointed out that it was odd for Katy to have befriended spamming author and troll after having read my review and Katy then withdrew from the discussion and blocked me.

I had hoped that all of this has nothing to do with the fact that Katy requested friendship from me not too long ago and I declined because I don't have that much in common with people who have blogs that solicit free books from authors and publishers where reviews are almost always 5-stars. However, I have nothing against them either, just not my sort of thing.


message 3: by Katy (new)

Katy (KatyaS-69) | 32 comments No, that had nothing to do with it, Petra; I had honestly hoped to come up with a way to help fix the problem and then people started getting nasty, so I withdrew from the discussion. I was actually trying to find a way to unfollow you, since it looked to me like you had blocked me and I didn't want to end up accidentally sending you invites to things; I can't figure out how to do that, 'cause your profile shows as private to me now and I can't find you in my friends list to unfollow, either.

I just felt no one else seemed to want to take action to try to fix the problem where people felt they were being spammed and hoped that by soliciting a possible solution from the Feedback group that might help - I honestly do not understand why people seemed to have become angry at me only after I put forward a possible solution. I reached out to the author in hopes of giving her advice about not doing the mass recommends anymore and she was grateful and wanted to be friends. I don't hold what people have done to other people against them; I base my judgment of people on how they treat me.

That is neither here nor there - the problem is that people consider mass recommends from authors they don't know to be spam and I'm trying to do what I can to find a way to fix that. Why is that a problem for people??


message 4: by Kara (new)

Kara | 1580 comments Mod
To clarify, authors are not actually permitted to recommend their own books through our community recommendation feature. Doing so does break the rules. Normally, the system itself prevents this from happening (unless the author has not claimed his or her profile yet).

We could probably make this rule more visible in the author guidelines. I'll pass that on.


message 5: by Katy (new)

Katy (KatyaS-69) | 32 comments Kara wrote: "To clarify, authors are not actually permitted to recommend their own books through our community recommendation feature. Doing so does break the rules. Normally, the system itself prevents this..."

Okay, thank you Kara. That's how this particular author got around the rule, then; she hadn't claimed her profile yet. I have mentioned to her (and I also mention to any author with whom I have contact) that she should not be doing that. She has claimed her profile now, so hopefully this will not be a problem with this particular person again, even if my advice is disregarded.

Have a nice night!


message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 8933 comments Kara wrote: "To clarify, authors are not actually permitted to recommend their own books through our community recommendation feature. Doing so does break the rules. Normally, the system itself prevents this from happening (unless the author has not claimed his or her profile yet).

We could probably make this rule more visible in the author guidelines. I'll pass that on. "


Kara,

I get all those types of recommendations via pm. Are those officially allowed?


message 7: by Kara (new)

Kara | 1580 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "Kara wrote: "To clarify, authors are not actually permitted to recommend their own books through our community recommendation feature. Doing so does break the rules. Normally, the system itself pre..."

We also don't recommend sending unsolicited messages promoting your own book (we have a paragraph about this in our author guidelines). If you get PMs like that, please flag them to our attention.


message 8: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Coble (Mycropht) | 22 comments Wow. Wish I'd known about the guideline thing earlier. I went through a period of four or five months where I got nothing but spam from authors self-promoting.


message 9: by Rooster (new)

Rooster | 8 comments I have just read that long thread and Katy is being disingenous here in feedback. She spends all her time defending the author and attacking anyone who doesn't support her.


message 10: by Stefani (last edited Oct 30, 2012 07:54AM) (new)

Stefani (steffiebaby140) | 453 comments Here is what I don't understand...this is the exact wording from the author guidelines.

"I’d like to contact everyone who has added my book or a related work. Is that OK?

It is not advisable to engage (via comments/messages/friend requests) all the people who add your book or a related work. You should also avoid tactics like thanking everyone who has added your book. These kinds of behaviors will result in people flagging you as a spammer, and we will have to take action. If you are flagged enough times, your profile will be evaluated for deletion."

Also here:

"What is the etiquette for sending private messages?

We encourage our members to strike up conversations. Yet, sending unsolicited messages to strangers to advertise your book is a strategy with extremely limited success. In fact, it may be detrimental if you become known as a spammer among the community. Members often flag unsolicited messages for abuse, which are deleted by the Goodreads staff. "

How is any of this not saying that this behavior is not acceptable? Just because it doesn't use the words "forbidden" and "against the rules" does mean that anyone with the intelligence of an amoeba wouldn't figure out that doing this was NOT a good idea. Account deletion, being considered a spammer, being reported for abuse. All of these sound like consequences for choosing to ignore the rule to me.

Also, this particular author only got an author page recently. All of this spamming was done from a normal reader account until yesterday when someone brought up that their accounts should be merged to an author account....maybe this was to circumvent the rules perhaps?


message 11: by Petra X (last edited Oct 30, 2012 07:45AM) (new)

Petra X (PetraX) | 5937 comments Katy wrote: " I was actually trying to find a way to unfollow you, since it looked to me like you had blocked me..."

How could it have "looked like"? There was a glitch on Goodreads and suddenly all my comments (but no one else's) were invisible to you? I hadn't blocked you then and I haven't now. I only block trolls and people who spam me. I have no problem with people who disagree with me (half - or more - of GR would be blocked if I did!)

As someone wrote on the long review thread, you flounced out when challenged, and you flounced out on me by blocking me.


message 12: by Petra X (new)

Petra X (PetraX) | 5937 comments Kara wrote: "To clarify, authors are not actually permitted to recommend their own books through our community recommendation feature. Doing so does break the rules. Normally, the system itself prevents this..."

Kara, in this case the author was spamming from her private profile. I do think Katy is right in that the author didn't know she could claim her author's profile, but nonetheless it is a way around it because as it stands, it is fine for an ordinary member to recommend a book to strangers and so it is a get-around for authors. I have had authors using their ordinary accounts do this to me quite often.

Would it not be possible to make it clear that authors from either their author's or member's account should not spam people they do not know with recommendations of their book?


message 13: by Stefani (new)

Stefani (steffiebaby140) | 453 comments Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "If you enter a giveaway and don't win is the author allowed to PM you and let you know it is available for kindle right now for the low low price of $1.99 even though you don't have a Kindle? Becau..."

I get that a lot too. Most of the time I just ignore it, but if I'm reading the author guidelines correctly it could be considered spamming and you can report it.


message 14: by Kara (new)

Kara | 1580 comments Mod
Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "If you enter a giveaway and don't win is the author allowed to PM you and let you know it is available for kindle right now for the low low price of $1.99 even though you don't have a Kindle? Becau..."

No, that's not recommended either (it still falls under the category of unsolicited messaging).


message 15: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 8933 comments Kara, Thanks for your responses.

*sigh* I do love authors. I wish they'd all understand that certain behaviors are not usually going to help get their books read. That said, very few authors engage in objectionable behavior. I have friends here who are authors who never (or in some cases extremely rarely) even mention their books. They're here primarily as readers. Except for those who have out really esoteric books, that's what probably helps their own books.


message 16: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 31, 2012 12:48AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) | 9 comments Always a few bad apples. I've not had spam in my goodreads PMs yet (seen some odd accounts and posts in other areas). More often I see authors posting in groups without understanding group policies; usually someone tells them, doesn't happen again and everyone all happy (and if not, moderator blocks without bothering gr staff).

There's a balance between participating as a reader and as a writer (I get irritated at the ones who plug their book every other comment until moderator blocks). I love seeing what's on favorite authors' personal bookshelves despite what it does to my TBR pile.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

For me the issue is relevance to the group's discussion.

In the case of personal contact, I don't mind hearing from authors with whom I've interacted in groups, and I don't mind polite comments or recommendations when there's a point of real similarity. For example, I read a great many books by Cambodian authors. I'm not averse to a polite message that says "I see you've enjoyed some books about Cambodians. I thought you might be interested in my novel about Cambodia." I also don't mind hearing from authors whose books I've reviewed. If I've been polite, even if my review was negative, I expect them to be polite in turn.


message 18: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 31, 2012 05:00PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) | 9 comments So today I'm seeing more recommendations straight from authors. Good if actually responding to theme/genre/styles I requested a recommendation. The completely off the wall ones…hope that's not becoming a problem.

Seeing more, not necessarily enough that I'd call it a problem or spam.

If you click "ignore" on the recommendations from other goodreads members page — does that prevent that particular book from being recommended again?

If you know you really can't stand books from a certain author, any way to block getting recommendations for? I don't mean blocking or reporting an author as doing something wrong, just that when I know I'm never going to read anything they wrote why have it show up n my recommendations?


message 19: by Witchie (new)

Witchie (Bitchie) | 605 comments I've recently had to take action in my own group, because a new member, who has NEVER posted in our group, was sending out a message stating she was a "Kindle Smut Author", and then proceeding to schill her book. Now I've got authors up in arms because I had to send out a broadcast message to the group that this was NOT acceptable behavior, and so authors are pissed off at me for taking action, and stifling them, and members leaving my group because they think we advocate "our" authors using the group to spam their books.


message 20: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 31, 2012 06:47PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) | 9 comments *ack* that's wrong. Most groups just set author participation rules (no one ever minds participating as a reader, some set self promotion threads and restrict the schill postings to those, may or may not prohibit nominating your own book, etc.). Usually an author violates, gets informed nicely, stops and everybody's happy (except people who want to scream and bash the offender and enjoy never letting a thread/issue drop).

No group ever wants every comment from an author to include a book plug, that's annoying and boring. (And makes you think the writing in their book is the same).

One very large member group I am in (with active BOTM discussions that usually do increase that books quantity of ratings) has been seeing a newish version of trolling/sock puppets. Book nominations made and seconded; then the instant is on that month's poll—a torrent of new members joining group who do nothing but vote on that poll. Got so bad moderators tried mking clear in messages, threads and poll title that only group members who joined before a certain date were eligible to vote (not a setting they could make or enforce), resorted once to making group private and closing to new membership (not a desirable solution); even had an author (who did apologize later to group that he didn't know) drumming up to fans on facebook, blog, etc. to please join goodreads group at least long enough to vote on that month's poll)...well, moderator yanked that book from poll. Made it clear in group discussions and poll pm notices that any poll/book that was creating troll traffic in future would be removed from poll.

That last worked. Plus changed BOTM nominations to exclude an author already read or nominated over past x months. That was done after discussion threads created for members interested in previous author or series group had read or that were popular in nomination threads. A couple of always nominating same book people were getting annoying, too. (authors nominating their own book in every BOTM category/theme whether it fit or not was getting annoying but group had no rule against self nominating; by deciding to restrict how often nominated meant authors and trolls more careful to pick theme book fit in and group would discover new reads).

Always something; goodreads does need to add an option to polls that only members who joined by poll start date can use (if not already done; was a suggestion that some moderators were told would likely get implemented).


message 21: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 2221 comments I would love more control over polls - join dates; comments made; ability to rank votes etc


message 22: by Petra X (last edited Oct 31, 2012 07:31PM) (new)

Petra X (PetraX) | 5937 comments Deborah (Debbie Rice) wrote: No group ever wants every comment from an author to include a book plug, that's annoying and boring. (And makes you think the writing in their book is the same). ..."

That is such a brilliant point, but one missed entirely by authors. There used to be a fashion (and it is still current in some groups) for SP authors to always add a signature to every post. Some were only a line long, some three lines long. They think it is just getting their book out there, but what it is, is tedious when repeated ad nauseum, just like you suspect their books probably are.


message 23: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 31, 2012 08:05PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) | 9 comments I do realize authors are readers and there's a balance (usually it works out that if I have a lot of liked books in common with an author I like what they write). Some of the best writers are avid readers and avid fans of certain genres and as such are wonderful additions to groups about said genres.

No one really notices them because not doing anything wrong. But, oh so very many buy-my-book-buy-my-book chanters rolling around everywhere. Not just determinedly marketing their works, but, completely convinced that that's the right way to do it, and that goodreads was there just for them to use for that purpose. And that even complaints and dnr shelving of their books better than not being noticed.

I have read good indie and self-published works. But, the increase of the self or vanity published authors increases the spam and marketing tactics established publishers and agents would not do.

Reminds me of a funny little parody (okay a bit cruel) with "Buy My Book" replacing "Be Our Guest" song in Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast at http://www.jimchines.com/2012/04/buy-... with a refrain/verse singing:
"…but I’ll spread the word across the Internet!
And when you shout “No spam!”
I’ll just repost again,
So buy my book!
Buy my book!
Buy my book!…"



message 24: by Petra X (last edited Oct 31, 2012 08:16PM) (new)

Petra X (PetraX) | 5937 comments I have quite a few authors on my friends' list. Only one, a friend of at least three years standing, has sent me a recommendation of his new book and the events surrounding it. It doesn't feel like a recommendation or spam, it makes me feel kind of honoured, that though I'm so far away a friend would invite me to his launch party.

Several authors, some friends some not, commented on my review that was at the root of this thread, not one of them approved of the spamming through recommendations.


message 25: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 31, 2012 08:50PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) | 9 comments I'll accept author friend requests and interactions; can always unfriend if turns out to be for persistent spam. An unheard of author in genres I don't read with no book activity, no shared group participations, and updates all a bunch of "now friends with"—I'll wait a bit to accept request and see if does more than friend requests. Yup, let my other friends find out the hard way.

Never spam if author responding to a question I asked, even if it' includes how-to-buy-my-book or self promotion. I have a shelf called "Buy When Ebook" and could see how the author who pm'd just with a simple release date and info could not resist and I did not think of it as spam (actually went immediately to ebook page and input release date).

No one's overreacting, we know the difference between being social, shared interests, interactions, etc. And mass marketing out to mailing lists of strangers not soliciting is the spam issue. My participation on goodreads, in genre specific groups, in my choice of shelf names does not equal soliciting materials from every goodreads author and member.

Not likely a big issue of mass recommendations from author as goodreads restricts unless not yet claimed author page. More likely troll or sock puppet accounts behind.


back to top