Guest Post: 5 Reasons People Aren’t Happy With Goodreads Exclusively by Ashley Evans

Posted July 30, 2014 by Bee in Interviews & Guest Posts / 23 Comments

Hi! My name is Ashley and I have a book blog called Nose Graze. My husband and I have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help make our dream a reality. We want to create a new and improved online community for book lovers called LitRate. That’s right, we’re taking on Goodreads!

In order to even think about something like this, we had to do a lot of research. Why are people unhappy with Goodreads? What features is the site lacking? If we could figure out what people wanted but didn’t have, we could start shaping the future of LitRate.

I’m going to share with you some of the things I uncovered in my research and how we’ll tackle those on LitRate.

1. Goodreads was bought out by Amazon

Some people are perfectly fine with this, but other people HATE IT. They don’t like the idea of Goodreads “selling out” or they’re just anti-Amazon. People now see Goodreads as having this big, corporate face. I mean, Amazon is huge and now they’re calling the shots. Long gone are the days where the site founder would integrate with the users on a daily basis. Goodreads has lost that personal touch and has been snatched up by a big company.

We can’t tell you what LitRate will look like in 2 years or 5 years or 10 years. But right now, our goal isn’t to get rich off this site. All we want is for it to exist and have a chance in the world. Yes, we do need to somehow raise $16,000 to get started and again every year after that (find out why), but after that, profits aren’t our priority. If we break even, I’ll be overjoyed!

We’re starting LitRate because we love books. We’ll offer a more personal touch than Goodreads does. You can chat with the developers one-on-one and let your ideas be heard.

2. The dark day in history when Goodreads deleted content

A lot of people still feel burned by what happened. Goodreads deleted reviews and shelves that it deemed inappropriate or “bashing authors”. Maybe some of those were hurtful reviews/shelves, but a lot of them weren’t. But, the thing that really aggravates people is that they did it without warning. Not cool!

On LitRate we will be implementing a “no deletion” policy. Nothing will ever be permanently deleted! For the most part, we want to leave all moderation up to the users by having a vote up/down system. Think like Reddit or YouTube comments. If a review gets a certain amount of down votes, it will be hidden, but you can choose to unhide it with one click.

But for the REALLY bad stuff (hate speech, racism, extremely vulgar language and name calling) we will take action. However, the content will not be deleted. It will simply be hidden from public view and the creator will still have complete access to that review in their account. Nothing is ever lost or removed.

3. The lack of privacy settings

What if you want to review a book but you know your review will be particularly mean and you’re afraid to post it? That’s understandable. Well on Goodreads you either have to buckle up and do it, or just not post the review at all.

On LitRate we will introduce more advanced privacy settings. When publishing a review you can opt to make it public, view-able to friends only, or completely private. If it’s private, only you will see your review; no one else will have access to it.

4. What do you mean you can’t use half stars?

Goodreads has always been really adamant about the fact that they don’t like half stars. What’s up with that? They have their reasons, but I think they’re silly. As a reviewer, I often spend more time deciding if I should round my rating up or down on Goodreads than I spend writing the actual review! That’s absurd.

We’ll give you half stars on LitRate. You deserve them.

5. I’m tired of the author spam

Authors: I love you. I really, really do. And I’m not bundling all of you into this category, but some authors can be really overly aggressive with their marketing campaigns on Goodreads. They post on profiles saying, “I think you’d really love my book,” they recommend their own book to people, and I’ve heard a lot more horror stories. I’m sure your book is awesome and it’s amazing that you’ve managed to write one (I couldn’t), but I don’t want to be marketed to all the time.

On LitRate we want to try our best to find a happy middle ground here. We don’t want to ban authors or promotions, but we do want to limit or eliminate the unsolicited marketing/spam. We’ll have designated areas where authors can promote their books, but spam marketing will be strictly forbidden.

Like what you see? Help us out!

If you’re excited about our ideas for LitRate, please help make this happen! In order to get off the ground, we need to raise $16,000 to pay for a book data subscription. Help us out by backing our Kickstarter campaign. Every little bit helps!

Thank you to Ashley for asking me to help out with this! If there’s anything else I can do, just let me know. I’ll even pledge if I can! Please go visit Ashley’s blog by clicking on the button!

Nose Graze - Book reviews & blog tips

And don’t forget Creative Whim where you can buy all of her themes and plugins!

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What do you guys think of this project?


Bee (born as Bieke) is 26 years old and from Belgium. (No she won't send waffles.) She's a strange, nerdy and anxious creature floating around somewhere on the ace spectrum. Oh, and she also writes books as Nelly B. Jones. Or tries to anyway. You can also find her on Novel Ink.

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23 responses to “Guest Post: 5 Reasons People Aren’t Happy With Goodreads Exclusively by Ashley Evans

  1. Excellent post Ashley.

    I have another reasons: spammers. I’ve left so many groups in GR because they send too much messages. The recommendations, when I review a book in write in that field something ramdom like “YA lovers” or something like that but I don’t send recommendations to all my contacts.

    And it isn’t possible personalize our profiles like Booklikes,

  2. Ashley, I will be happy to help any way I can (I will donate as soon as I get paid!) One of the most aggravating things about Goodreads is how hard it is to search for something. You have to know the exact spelling of the author or book, and I mean EXACT. Also, the only way to get to “suggestions” that are worthwhile is by going to listopia. I, for one, cannot wait for LitRate!

    Liza @ Reading with ABC recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday: Atlantia by Ally Condie
    • Ugh, yeah I hate ads. They can be a necessary evil to fund a site though. On LitRate we will need some ads in order to offset the costs of the site, but we’ll be limiting it to no more than two per page (and maybe some pages won’t have any). Five is pretty ridiculous!

      We’d also like to introduce a subscription option at some point where you can pay to have ads removed. We’re not sure when that would happen though!

  3. Ashley, I’m so happy you’ve decided to pursue this! I recently canceled my goodreads account because I was burned out on it. I’d love to join something else though and know your site would be amazing πŸ™‚ I don’t have a huge follower base yet, but just let me know if I can use my blog in some way to help you!

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