Lessons learned from sending invites to my entire address book

You just accidentally sent invites to EVERYONE in your address book to a book cataloging service. What do you do?

1) Laugh it off. “People get these every day.”

2) Freak out and immediately send an email to everyone in your address book apologizing?

3) Freak out and ignore it.

4) Send an email to only the business contacts in your address book explaining your error.

What I did:

Yesterday I did a little bit of 2 and 3. I freaked out and posted an apology on twitter, facebook, and my blog on spudart.org. There’s a level of freaking out, because my address book is a collection of EVERYONE I’ve ever met and have their email address. This includes anyone I meet in business and anyone I meet online. If you added me as a contact on flickr, I add you in my address book. If I meet someone through a personal, I add that person in my address book. I want to make sure that if someone tries to email me, the spam blockers don’t block your email. Plus, I just like to have one central location where I have everyone I know. Networking is very important, and I’ve learned it’s essential to have a complete address book of people that I get in touch with for helping each other.

When I send out a willy nilly accidental email like this, there’s an element of losing control that is very unsettling, because I just did something I didn’t mean to do. The flip side is that it’s still a nice email. No harm done. And that’s what I realize now. (I should note that it was not goodreads fault. I clicked on a button I should not have clicked on in their site. Goodreads does NOT do “contact scraping“)

The result:

What then resulted from my online posts is people were disappointed that I was disingenuous with my invite. “Oh you didn’t really want to be my friend.” Which I’m sure is said in a joking manner. But there is some sort of truth behind that. In all reality, YES, I would love to be your friend. I just don’t send invites out to my ENTIRE address book. But really, people don’t care if your whole address book got sent an email, especially if it was for a service that is legit. Now if it was a spam site, then yes, I would probably email my entire address book telling them to ignore it. But goodreads.com is a nice site. I ended up with 16 new friends on goodreads.

What I should have done: (maybe)

Part of me wonders if I should have just emailed the business contacts to explain. But instead I went the passive way and posted a message online. Of course the business people don’t see those messages online, but my friends do see them. It’s my friends that should see it as completely normal for me to add them as a friend on goodreads.com. But I posted those messages online, because I want to at least try to be up front with people and let them know what I was thinking. I don’t like to pretend or be fakey. Plus, I’m very willing to admit when I make an error. So, hence posting a messages to let people know a bit of the history behind the invite.

Once I saw all the people add me as a friend, I was really happy. Now I have 16 new friends on goodreads, and that’s TOTALLY cool. I welcome Alice, Clorissa, Crissy, Cyndi, Erik, Frederic, Heidi, Jason, John, Julia, Pd, Steve, Tammy, Tracy, Wendy, Yoshinari as my new friends on goodreads.com!

The ultimate result:

Let’s share some good books!

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Tom Saaristo
13 years ago

What I find curious is the reaction to the people you emailed. Some people jumped right on your list and then there are people like me who got your invite but then got the email to ignore the invite, so I did!

Andre Alforque
13 years ago

I was offline until today. Whenever someone sends me an invite to a legitimate online site, I sign-up to check it out. I totally see how you accidentally sent an invite out to all your contacts; I almost did it myself. As I reached that step in the registration process, I pondered if this is how an invite to me had come to pass. Now that I have read this Blog entry, I know what happened. Not really a big deal in my book since it looks like a cool, legitimate site. And like you said, as long as it’s not Spam or Phishing, we’re good.

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