Monday, February 23, 2009

Bookmooch Sucks Even More

Ok, so maybe this was the work of one particularly incompetent administrator, thought I. Why not try to go straight to the top and see if I can contact the founder of the site.

So according to the Wikipedia article on Bookmooch, the site is run by John Buckman.

The bottom link on this page states that emails go straight to John. So I click it, send the email here, and guess who responds? You guessed it! Our old friend. i.e. Not John Buckman.

My email text:

John,

Are you personally responsible for all the emails that come from [the email address that had been giving me trouble]?

I had my account shut down, no one will tell me why, and I just wanted to
make sure you were aware of the rather negative experience I've had with
Bookmooch.

Thanks.
JK

PS - I'm also a legitimate user who just wants to give some books away.


Them:

Hello Josh,
You seem not to be understanding the finality of our previous communications,
That you continue to send e-mails is entirely up to you of course.
But you are correct, we have yet to fully develop the site to the point where we can instantly deal with the hundreds of new account applications made each day from many dozens of countries, we will likely be able to do so a bit quicker as the site evolves.
We cannot and will not reveal security information no matter how many times it is demanded of us.
And Mr. Buckman does not deal with individual account issues. There are far too many accounts for him to do so.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bookmooch Closed My Account And Wouldn't Tell Me Why

Bookmooch closed my account after I spent $35 on packing materials and refused to tell me why. The following is an exchange with a Bookmooch admin (or at least someone with an email address claiming to be a Bookmooch admin):


Them:

Hello Josh,
Sorry, we cannot offer membership at Bookmooch due to an association with a past account which gave us difficulties,
No need to send any requested books.

Me:
Hi,

I'm not sure why my account has been closed. I've already packaged
and addressed the books I've agreed to send and was planning on
mailing them tomorrow.

Can you tell me more about why my account was closed?

Thanks!

Them:

Hello Josh,
We must take the precaution of disallowing any new membership which is linked to past accounts that misued our system.
We suggest the use of Paberback swap, Tittle trader or Bookins, all good trading sites.
But do not send books to Bookmooch members as no future accounts will be permitted.


Me:

I don't understand. Did I sign up for Bookmooch and not agree to send
books that were never sent? If so, I don't remember doing that. I
may have browsed the site before, but don't remember doing more than
that.

I certainly understand the need to preserve a good user community, but
I guess I'm a little concerned that maybe a third party had
compromised my account or something like that.

Is there any additional information you can give me?

Thanks.
JK


Them:

sorry, we cannot disclose site security features, to do so would not be to our advantage.
Most trading or selling sites have such mechanisms in place.


Me:

That's very disappointing to hear.

I can't say that I've ever experienced this kind of treatment before
from an online community:

You tell me that I'm somehow associated with an abuse of your site,
and I'm making an effort to resolve the situation, and you won't give
me any further information about how you came to the conclusion that
I'm not acting in good faith. That doesn't seem very fair to me.

All I want to do is give my books away on your site. Well, that and
now I'd like to clear my name as well.

I would respectfully ask that you reconsider working with me to
resolve the situation.

Thanks.
JK


Them:

Hello Josh,
No need to clear your name at all, we need no further information.
We act with great caution in clearing new members, and there is no reason to take this as anything more.


Me:

Just to make sure you understand my perspective here, let me
re-summarize recent events as I see them:

I heard about Bookmooch via a question at Stack Overflow, an online
community of which I am a good citizen and contributor:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/208293/when-to-throw-out-old-programming-books

I post a bunch of programming books that I no longer use, and get
quite a few mooches.

I figure to myself, "Hey, this looks pretty good. I think I'll post
some additional books that I no longer have need of." Get additional
mooches. Everything's great. I probably don't need all of those
points now, so maybe I'll donate some to charity.

I leave to run some errands and while out go shopping at Office Depot
to purchase $35 worth of padded envelopes. I package and address all
of the books I'm about to mail tomorrow.

I come back to find my account closed with an email from you stating
so. I politely inquire as to an explanation why my account is closed,
get none. No reference to terms of service I violated, no explanation
of what behavior made you suspicious, nothing.

That's not exactly the kind of treatment that gets you good word of
mouth. It is, however, the kind of treatment that gets me irritated
enough to post my experience in the most public forum I can.

JK