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Legit Ebook Lending Site Taken Down By An Angry Twitmob Of Writers

9 August 2012

From TechDirt:

A bizarre thing happened late last week. A bunch of authors, playing Twitter telephone, managed to take down LendInk, a legitimate book lending site. (This “discussion” has spilled over to LendInk’s Facebook page.) LendInk, a matchmaking site for Kindle and Nook users to “borrow” each other’s titles, somehow found itself on the receiving end of an irate mob, who accused it of piracy and sent (at least according to the threats) several DMCA takedown notices its way.

As of last Friday, the site is down, presumably as a response to the heavy influx of angry traffic and DMCA notices.

Link to the rest at TechDirt and thanks to Keith for the tip.

Ebook Lending

59 Comments to “Legit Ebook Lending Site Taken Down By An Angry Twitmob Of Writers”

  1. I was on a couple of loops where this Twitmob managed to work themselves into a lather and simply WOULD.NOT.LISTEN. They refused to understand the lending program and turned into blithering idiots. I have since removed myself from a couple of those loops. I appreciated the value of some of what they said, but in this case, stupidity ruled and I don’t suffer fools gladly.

    • Ugh, I know! There were a lot of authors in the KDP forum just going aggro over LendInk, even though several of us explained what the site was doing and that nothing illegal was going on.

      Definitely idiots who really lack any reading comprehension whatsoever. >:|

      • Cooler (and smarter) heads tried to prevail but too many were too busy sharpening the stakes and boiling the oil and howling with glee and doing their unholy version of the Danse Macabre. The saddest part to me is that this was being run by a disabled veteran. He responded on one of the articles with enormous grace and dignity.

        This incident actually contributed to bringing a number of things to a head for me. Opting out of those other indie author chat loops is going to be good for me. I only wish I had the names of those who contributed to this idiocy so I knew who to avoid. Reading Comprehension 101 should be required before writing a novel.

        • Yes, I told those in the KDP that I’d love a list of their pen names to make certain I never accidentally purchased or promoted their books.

          I learn a new low in human stupidity every day I’m online. :(

        • Just ended up here from another blog-post about this.

          I can send you a link to the list if you like… It’s online.

          • Thanks for the offer, Pixey, but I’ve seen it already.

          • What Scath said. While we are all angry (I’m as mad as the rest of you), it’s important to remember that The Passive Voice is a voice of reason. In PG’s absence I’m going to suggest that we don’t participate in assisting “twitmobs”, or become one ourselves, even if they are on the side of the angels. What these authors did was hasty and ill advised and in some cases malicious. Let’s not be like them. If anyone wants the list of participating authors it’s easily found in other places.

    • The biggest issue with online loops is the tendency to overreact first and ask questions later. I stay off all loops so I do tend to be out of the loop. Didn’t even know about this site until it had been closed.

  2. And some of us wonder why readers are leery of self-publishing authors… :-/

  3. Not good.

  4. First I’ve heard of any of this, which just goes to show how out of the loop I am. I’m sorry this Dale Porter fellow was bullied into taking down his site by a relatively small number of writers who got their knickers in a twist over it. He was actually performing a service for writers, most of whom either don’t care or are hoping that their books will get loaned as a promotional tool. If there was some way of communicating our support to Mr. Porter, I’d certainly join in.

  5. I wonder if the people who did this are truly proud of themselves for their lynch mob mentality.

    • There was one author who apologized for jumping on the bandwagon without doing her own research, but I really don’t want to go find it. Reading that Facebook page and all of the horrible comments just makes my blood boil.

  6. I think perhaps it’s just spawning more lynch mobs. Here are a bunch of pissed off LendInk users making lists of the authors involved so they can 1-star their books:

    http://ashentech.com/index.php/topic,3037.0.html

    Everyone is dumb. Just…a pox on ALL the houses.

    (Presumably – hopefully – this publicity will help get the site back online. Many of the users make very good points about libraries being terrible for ebooks. Not sure all the 1-stars will go away, though, since that’s at Amazon’s discretion.)

    • Where is that “like” button when I want it? ;)

      The right thing to do would be for each the misguided souls who participated in this witch hunt to contribute to getting Mr. Porter back on line. Write to his host. Offer to donate to the cost of his web hosting, etc. We’ve all made hasty mistakes, but this one is pretty stupid.

      • That’s a great idea. I think so far the authors who have tried to apologize have been met with a lot of hostility, but taking action to actually rectify the wrong should probs be done for it’s own sake.

        Somehow I feel like hysterical mobs will never go entirely out of fashion, though. ;)

  7. Wow, that totally sucks. I checked out Lendink a while ago and thought it was a fabulous idea. Craigslist for book geeks! I hope Dale is able to resurrect his site.

    • From what I recall reading on Slashdot, Dale said his host required him to send a response to each of the complaints individually before they’d let him put the site back up. He said he wouldn’t bother at this point. It’s a shame.

      • K.W. and a few other in Facebook are suggesting a Kickstarter to find a new host and reboot the site. I hope Dale will consider his options.

        I feel so bad for the guy. I mean, death threats, people. Really?

  8. As an Indie author, I am perfectly happy for my books to be listed and lent in any Library style service such as LendInk was. The people who started this campaign are, in my view extremely short-sighted and they damage all of us.

  9. I noticed that thread. It was one of the reasons that after a few weeks I decided to give up on kindle boards. A very high noise to content ratio.

  10. I left a comment of support as soon as I heard about this – which was before the site went down.
    I tried very hard to explain to as many people as I could this was a legit business but nobody wanted to listen and I got quite a lot of flack for ‘being a fool’ according to some.

    What was so frustrating was that all the information needed to assure me this was a perfectly legitimate business was easily found from publicly accessible sources within ten minutes of Googling.
    It was very unpleasant to be lectured to by some people who were convinced they knew best (without checking their facts) even though I had checked the facts and had them to quote from. :(

    I was very upset during the whole thing & it still gets my blood pressure up so I dread to think how Dale Porter felt. :( I hope things can be put right for him.
    I just wish everyone would learn from this and play nice in future.

  11. “Twitmob?”

    I am totally stealing this word.

  12. For some reason, writers seem to be susceptible to this type of mob mentality. You saw the same thing on the SOPA law. Sure, there were some valid concerns worth making a fuss about, but I also saw a lot of crazy misconceptions rolling around, when if they’d read the law, it did none of those things. Like one said the group could, at will, block any site without a court order. Read the law. Could’t block any US site, and had to have a court order to block foreign ones. Yet, how many people ranted about the possibility of seeing Google or Facebook blocked? And how many of us believed it without checking it out ourselves?

    Rule: don’t be so quick to hop on the latest bandwagon, at least before you do your homework and require support for whatever claims they are making from original documents. It is the taking of misconceptions as gold just because this or that big name author said it was so, or this group said it was so, that gets us into trouble like this. And in this case, denied a veteran legal and worthy means to support himself while providing a valuable service. For no reason other than people were too lazy to find out if what they were being told held any water whatsoever.

    • Um, everyone is susceptible to this kind of mob mentality. You don’t get out much, do you? :-)

      I’ve been online since 1986. Trust me, it’s not just writers.

      • That is so true. I’ve seen this happen in religious groups, writers groups, foodie groups, health groups. Mob mentality is always sad to see among the groups we are associated with. Hate when it destroys a good thing.

    • Bump. Amen.

  13. I had seen mention of Lendink on another site, and was going to say it was fine–no different than Lendle.me or Booklending.com, but I saw others had already said that, so I kept quiet. Now I wish I would have said something. I wonder how many others like me saw it, realized the mistake, but didn’t say anything because one person already had? I figured the authors would see that post, realize their mistake and the whole thing would be forgotten.

    • Had you mentioned the others the mobs might have gone after them to.

      • True, but those other sites have been around since the lending option began. Shoot, I borrowed the whole Hunger Games series on it. (but then I bought it when Amazon had a deal on the bundled trilogy–so see, those sites can drive sales.)

  14. The concept of the lending library has been with us since Ben Franklin’s day. K.W., thank you for the link to Mr. Porter’s Facebook page. Honestly, don’t other writers understand how the “word of mouth” concept works? Sure, you don’t get paid for every copy that gets distributed from a library but it’s one of the best ways I know to add to a writer’s visibility.

  15. I posted a message of support to the LendInk Facebook page, and a couple of gentlemen replied, saying that they had gone to Amazon and B&N and bought a couple of my ebooks because of it. Obviously, self-promotion wasn’t why I had posted the message, but it was still a gratifying thing to have happen.

  16. How sad, but unfortunately we live in a world of increasingly angry people. I think there is something in the drinking water.

  17. Bit of an update here, from the LendInk Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=389528177779578&id=124974504234948

    I’m posting here at TPV at 10 pm EST, the FB page says this was posted about two hours ago, so I’m assuming that means that the LendInk proprietor put it up about 8 pm EST on Thursday, August 9. It’s not good.

  18. I looked into it. Had not decided whether it was great or indifferent for authors but could not figure out what all the outrage was about. Books can be lent unless a publisher disables the feature if self-pubs don’t want places like this lending their books then disable the lending feature. The whole point to the lending feature is to let someone share the book in hope of future sales.

    • Right. It’s a clearly-labeled checkbox in the KDP UI, not buried somewhere deep in the contract as some have suggested. It takes a special kind of stupid to explicitly allow lending of your books and then flip out when someone…lends your books.

      I hope the site owner is able to salvage it; if he manages to bring it back he’ll get tons of free positive publicity (many people who hadn’t heard of his site before have heard of it now).

  19. I’d never heard of LendInk until yesterday, but I spent some time reading up on the whole fiasco. The more I read, the angrier I got.

    All of the authors who led the charge against LendInk are gutless. The worst offender that I’ve seen so far is this Shawn Lamb person, who first tried to backpedal by saying that she MEANT to take down “Lendlnk” (with an “L”) which is a site that apparently never existed:

    “IMPORTANT AMENDMENT: For those of you jumping on me and other authors from the take down of a site – know this – it was a copycat site! The subtle difference is found in the title “Lendink” with a small “i” not “Lendlnk” with an “l”. They hijacked the name under the pretense of getting author’s permission for pirating e-books. Collateral damage is regrettable, but we were only protecting our books, as giving permission to an unauthorized Lendink site would result in our books being removed from Amazon.”

    Then that post was taken down in favor of one she titled “Calm Down” where she talked about how it was wrong for her to get hate mail and for people to jump to conclusions. Surprise, surprise, she removed that post, too.

    • I would expect an author of Christian historical fiction to be familiar with Matthew 7:1-5.

    • Unfortunately most of the apologies I’ve read have been very poor attempts. “I’m sorry, but…” Is not an apology, it’s a defense.

      As for the one mentioned above… It really makes me wish you needed a license to post on the internet that’s really all I can say about it. Utter stupidity.

      Self pubbers have to work double time just to prove their professionalism and an incident like this is just fodder for our detractors.

      Shameful

    • Um, to Shawn Lamb…if the domain name is ‘lendink.com’, then that’s the only LendInk.com, no matter how it’s presented on a web page.

      Look at PG’s URL above. ‘thepassivevoice.com.

      Domain names are always in lowercase letters.

      You can’t register ‘Lendink.com’, or ‘LendInk.com’, or ‘lendInk.com’ as different sites. It’s going to be ‘lendink.com’ in the records and in the site URLs.

      You could register ‘lendink.com’ or ‘lendink.info’, or lendink.net from the list of currently available types of domains.

      A copycat site would have to be registered something along the lines of ‘lendiink.com’ or ‘llendink.com’. Something close enough to the real domain name to confuse people.

    • I posted a comment and guess I did something wrong because I don’t see it.

      Try #2.

      Shawn Lamb is really confused about what a copycat site is.

      You can’t register ‘lendink.com’ and ‘Lendink.com’ as two different domain names.

      Look at Passive Guy’s URL: ‘thepassivevoice.com’. There can’t be a ‘THEPASSIVEVOICE.COM’ registered too.

      All domain names that I’ve ever seen are in lowercase letters.

      For her to push the copycat site theory, it would have to be something like ‘lend-ink.com’ or ‘llendink.com’. Or even ‘lendink.net’ or some other type of domain name.

      Something close enough that could be confused with ‘lendink.com’.

      • Not LendInk with an “I” but LendLnk with an “L”. That’s the difference Shawn Lamb was trying to get across.

        I still think it’s a load of hooey, though.

        • Oh, okay. I misread it. My mistake.

          ‘lendlnk.com’ with an L instead of I, yes, that is registered to someone, according to Whois. If I remembered my log in there, I’d check to see when it was registered.

          But it goes to a blank page right now.

          • According to register.com, lendlnk.com (with an L) was registered through GoDaddy today — August 10, 2012. Anybody who says they were really trying to take down a site by that name before today is — how did Sir Humphrey Appleby put it? —

            Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes. Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.

            James Hacker: Epistemological? What are you talking about?

            Sir Humphrey Appleby: You told a lie.

            (Yes, Prime Minister, ‘The Tangled Web’)

  20. Elizabeth Reesman

    I’m not one-starring any of the witchhunters books, but I do appreciate the lists because they’ve been put on my permanent “do not ever buy or read” list.

    The voices of reason and whatnot? I spent yesterday, and will be spending today and this weekend, hunting them down and getting a list together of them, and then buying their entire catalogs (directly from them, if possible, I like having my copies of books signed, if not, through Amazon) in dead tree format. Once I’ve gotten those, the books not available in dead tree I will get for my Kindle.

    And I will read them, loan them out, and add them to my rather extensive library. I will recommend the ones I read to friends and family I feel will like them.

    The witchhunters can rot. I don’t want to support their works– their lack of reading comprehension leads me to believe that their writing abilities will be equally limited.

    :)

    • I won’t be one starring, down voting reviews, or doing anything but exercising my right not to put money into the pockets of the authors involved in taking LendInk down and causing Mr. Porter so much misery.

      They did an awful thing. I won’t support them.

  21. I tried to inject a bit of commonsense too, but it didn’t really work. People were determined to be outraged. About 30 seconds on the site would have allowed anyone to see what it was all about – and no pirate site I’ve ever known has ‘buy’ buttons linked directly to Amazon :-) I gave up after a while, because whenever I put my head above the parapet I got shot down in flames, but I feel very sorry for Dale. There’s a lot of anger out there, and that’s sad.

  22. Great. Nice one Twitmob. What next? Burning down Libraries for having the nerve to lend out books? It sounds as if these “authors” have scored a spectacular own goal in not only making fools of themselves, but also choking a legitimate channel through which many new readers may have discovered their work.

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