Data Mining

A Social Media Promotion Dilema.

There is a looming problem for companies and brands that use Facebook as an exclusive way to promote themselves. There are people like myself that absolutely loath the idea of having to use Facebook or any other social media as an entry vehicle to what ever they are promoting. In other words, I don’t want to spam the Facebook timeline with crap that other people might not be interested in. The other issue is there are people who don’t have, and won’t ever have a Facebook account. So why would a brand only offer the ability to engage with a high-profile promotion via a Facebook with no other alternatives? Case in point furniture store Room&Board’s new Look Book promotion and sweepstakes.

fbooked

This afternoon I received an email asking if I’d like to enter a sweepstakes with a prize of $10,000. This is part of a campaign to promote the redesign of the new printed look book and catalog, plus the room&board website. The problem is you can only enter by going through Facebook. There is absolutely no other way to do it. The embedded link in the email takes you to Facebook, so does the link on the home page. I’m not sure how many people they are failing to connect with because of this, but I am going to assume quite a few. I can’t be the only person in the world that doesn’t want to use Facebook for everything.

In fine print at the bottom of the Facebook page there is this disclaimer; This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Room & Board and not to Facebook.” OK I get it, but I had to scroll to the bottom of the page to see this, and like most people I almost backed out of the promotion as soon as I saw it land on Facebook page. For me this is marketing fail. If Room&Board really wanted to promote the new site and Look Book, they really should have offered an alternate route for those people like myself that refuse to use Facebook for anything advertising related.

I know that Room&Board is simply using Facebook as the point to collect your information. The thing is, this just gives me a bad feeling overall. Even if Room&Board says I am only providing the information to them and not to Facebook. I might have a better feeling about participating if there was a non Facebook location that I could actually go to and engage with the brand.

Unfortunately this is a trend that continues to grow, and one that is going create a social divide between those of that won’t participate in Facebook hosted events/promotions, and those that will.

Is Pinterest Right For Your Companies Product?

One of the reasons I stopped using Pinterist awhile back was it felt like the social network was becoming a giant ad engine. By that I mean it felt like most of the content that was being served to me, was being pushed based on marketing algorithms and not my real interests. I have a shotgun approach to things I like, and it simply felt like companies were pushing there products on me, rather than me finding things in a more organic fashion.

It turns out my feelings were probably premature, but correct. Pinterest is one of the hottest ways for companies to market their products and services right now.They have a massive user base that is groing daily, and you surfing habits are tracked, recorded, and used to deliver tailored content to your eyeballs. For marketers Pinterest offers a lot of advantages, especially if you’ve got a strong visual product.

If you look at the infographic from Intuit below, you’ll see that Pinterest isn’t worth every companies investment though. It offers a solid insight into the way social media attracts, keeps, and sometimes loses an audience.

Facebook Stole Your Mobile Contacts Phone Numbers

I just discovered this.

Every Phone number in your mobile phones, contacts are now on Facebook. They were kind enough to snake them from your mobile phone. (I don’t remember asking for my permission. Oh that’s right when you are a tool of Satan you don’t have to.)

To fix this;

Go to top right of screen, click ACCOUNT, click EDIT FRIENDS, on the left side of screen click CONTACTS.

TO REMOVE, go to the right column and, click on “THIS PAGE” and then you’ll be able to REMOVE the numbers Facebook so kindly took without your permission.

One more reason to switch to Google+

Will Facebook Applications Bring Down Facebook?

As many of you know, I’m not a huge fan of Twitter, or a Twitter power user. I find the 140 character limit to be, well limiting. And the 140 character limit unfortunately causes most people tweeting to be more cryptic than informative, but in recent weeks I have begun to use it more and Facebook less. There are a number of reasons for this, but really there are two huge reasons I am kind of down on the Facebook experience these days.

First they keep jacking with the UI, and changing the end-user experience. I am of the belief, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And since they keep trying to make it more like a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook, with little regard for end-user control, I’m kind of done with every 3 months having to get used to a new UI layout, changing settings, a new user experience. For all the trying to simplify, they seem to make things harder.

The other thing, and this is what is eventually going to kill Facebook as far as I am concerned, are the stupid, stupid time-wasting applications. The fact that every action someone takes in a game like Mafia Wars or Farmville gets broadcast to the entire Facebook universe, and most of us don’t care that you found a lost cow down by the barn.

When Facebook introduced applications, it was one of the defining moments that helped to separate it from other social networking sites like Myspace. Applications were one of the technologies that helped push Facebook to the top of the social networking ladder in the last couple of years, and it is part of the reason sites like Myspace have lost so much traffic and are now rethinking what it is they want to be.

At the same time, all of these data scraping applications that now  proliferate Facebook, might be the thing that kills it. At a certain point, no one wants to be forced to spend their time “Hiding” feeds from all of these applications. And when you are forced to sort through hundreds of feeds from them just to see relevant information on Facebook, then the overall experience is diminished.

The other thing that I think is going to be the big Facebook application backlash for 2010 is the fact that more users are getting smart about what these apps actually do. They data mine your information, and the information of all your friends that accept your invite to install the application as well.  When you add an application, unless you say otherwise, it is given access to most of the information in your profile. That includes information you have on your friends even if they think they have tight security settings. And that is the kind of thing that could have huge repercussions for Facebook, and it’s user base.

Now I know that allot of you are going to disagree with me on this, and that’s fine. I fully expect all of the people that take polls, and quizzes, and play Mafia Wars, to say, “Your Missing the point Wade, these things are fun.” I’m just looking at this and saying isn’t that what everyone said about all those ugly Myspace themes 3 years ago.