Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

New server/Shelfari evidence

If you don’t notice anything, you can congratulate Felius, who just moved us to a new, dedicated web server. Believe it or not we’ve been running our web server and our main “write” database on the same machine. (Also, we put forks in toasters!) Anyway, the new server should help us out in a number of ways, and we have some very cool updates coming soon. Among other things, we’ll be increasing our library sources by many hundreds of libraries.

In other news, I just posted my evidence that one of our competitors, Shelfari, engaged in a campaign of “astroturfing”—posting blog comments pretending to be users. This follows my evidence that they’re grown by something close to spam, a deceitful invite interface. It is certainly true that I’ve got the bit between my teeth on this—I have been holding back on this stuff for months. When you get right down to it, the evidence is so damning I don’t care what people think of my motives. Anyway, I have been eager to praise other competitors for their sites (see both posts). Pick the best site, just don’t pick the one that cheats.

“Social cataloging” has become something like an industry, with over 40 sites in a dozen languages. I think our success was a major factor, but we know we didn’t start it.* When one bad actor—and the best-funded one!—behaves so poorly it reflects on all of us. Indeed, I finally decided to go public with my URLs after I told someone on a plane what I did and they asked if I was that site that was sending all those spammy invitations.

I’m proud of what I do. I think there’s something legitimately interesting underneath (see my Library of Congress talk). A bunch of music people with a million dollars from Amazon and no ethics is not going to spoil the party.

There. That felt better. So, I’ve got them off my chest. Time to hunker down and pump out some useful and important features—collections, better language parsing, better secondary-author functionality. As always, thank you for all the support.

*Bibliophil did, or perhaps 37Signals’ Singlefile.

Labels: server, shelfari, spam


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