Friday, July 18, 2008
BACKGROUNDER ON SHELFARI FROM WIKIPEDIA
Shelfari is a social cataloging website where members can catalog, tag, review, and discuss books.. Shelfari is the first product from Taste Makers, Inc., a company created by Josh Hug, Kevin Beukelman, and Mark Williamson. Shelfari was launched on October 11, 2006.Individuals are able to sign up for free and register an unlimited number of books.Shelfari users build virtual bookshelves of the titles they own or have read, and can rate, review, and tag their books. Shelfari's use of dimension in its books and shelves is intended to bring a real-world feel to the experience.Commercial tie-insIn February 2007, Amazon.com reportedly invested $1 million in Shelfari. In May 2007, Shelfari partnered with BookExpo America (BEA) to create Lit Insiders, combining the online Shelfari experience with an event at BEA.On June 7, 2007, Shelfari updated the "Book pages" to increase the social aspect of the site and user experience.In September 2007, Shelfari introduced its updated blog widget, which allows bloggers display the books from their Shelfari account. The widget comes in two forms: a graphical shelf widget in three styles (wood grain, ebony, and steel/cherry), and a text widget that adopts the styles of the page it is on.External CriticismsShelfari has received bad press for its "Invite Friends" page. Jesse Wegman, writing in The New York Observer in October 2007, complained that because he had "accidentally failed to uncheck the approximately 1,500 names in my Gmail address book that Shelfari had helpfully pre-checked", the system caused invitations to be sent, contrary to his intentions but "ostensibly" from his own address, to his entire network of contacts. In November 2007, Shelfari was accused of astroturfing by Tim Spalding, the creator of LibraryThing, a competing social networking book site. In a comment on another blog critical of Shelfari (primarily critcizing the "invitations" system), Josh Hug, the CEO, blamed the astroturfing on an intern not knowing better, and said that it had stopped.