Benign spam

Can you spam without being evil?

A local tech (‘puter/etc) shop seems to have found a way.  A notice on his door tells me that if I ‘like’ his facebook page, I get entered monthly for a draw.  The monthly prize is £15, so just a small incentive, but then it’s only a one-man business.

I guess that’s another manifestation of the same popularity/visibility game that gives us link farming and worse forms of spam.  But this one seems pretty-much harmless: it’s just playing the rating systems.  When ratings get gamed and subverted (like the once-useful TripAdvisor) it seems to me more a weakness of the system itself (insofar as the system rewards the gamer) than anything else.

OK, I’m probably hopelessly behind the curve here, observing something you already knew.  Hmmm …

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Posted on January 15, 2012, in spam. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I must take issue with your terminology here. Trying to game your Facebook rating isn’t ‘spam’. It’s more akin to link farming, surely.

  2. It isn’t clearly spam, as there is not extensive notification that you like something to others in Facebook.

    On the other hand it is full of the moral hazards of paid reviews. If I go to a website of a local computer shop and see “Nick Kew and 102 other like this, I might regard Nick’s endorsement as significant not knowing Nick was really after the chance of some cash.

    And yes everyone in marketing seems desperate to get more fans or friends in Facebook. I’m not sure how rational or informed this trend is. For example I’ve seen no attempt at differentiating between those who “Like” your page but suppress any messages you try and send them (who are presumably worth very little) and those who don’t suppress those messages. Part of Facebook’s ethos and the reason for its continued popularity is the ability to suppress most of that rubbish quite effectively.

    I suspect the more significant economic effect of most of this “liking” is in further exposing one’s preferences to Facebook, which allows more targeted advertising, and thus better returns on advertising for facebook and their advertisers. I was pretty impressed at the targeting I could achieve with facebook adverting a few years back.

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