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Are social networks doomed by SPAM?

June 14, 2008

According to Wikipedia, Spamming is:

“[T]he abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam and junk fax transmissions.”

But I think there’s a real simple way to define Spam: namely a marketing message that is irrelevant. As people like Nigel Hollis talk through the inability of marketers to effectively use social networking, an obvious question occurs: are they doomed by Spam?

The thing that normally makes Spam so irrelevant is that asks for the order when people are generally not looking to be sold. “Order this to enlarge your unit.” “Call us to get 50 million dollars.” Click here!

I blame the Internet. The Internet, as a marketing tool, is enticingly responsive. That person looking at a brand’s site, Facebook page, Twitter feed is tantalizingly close to buying something. One click in fact. So why not ask for the order?

Why not create a Facebook page and every time someone fans it, send them a Facebook message saying go buy our widget?

It won’t be unsolicited because the person became a Fan the page (or a follower of the Twitter feed, or a YouTube channel subscriber). And one could argue that the message is relevant for the same reason.

Clearly though, the person getting the message will not like it. And the person getting the message might actually think the brand that they loved enough to fan is spamming them.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2008 8:16 pm

    I think the problem here is that people are often looking for short term gain with little attention paid to the long term effects of their actions. Many take the path of least resistance and spam everyone who comes by with “buy my stuff”. In the short term this appears to work, but in the long term it harms their brand and can even cost them traffic if they get too crazy with their spam.

    Spammers also tend to get caught up in constantly rebuilding their sites or marketing campaigns after they upset everyone and kill their brand. They just go set up another site and start all over again. This seems silly to me. Why not just devote the same energy to a long term plan?

    I personally teach people to be aggressive in their use of social sites. However, I think they often misunderstand what I mean when I teach this. You need to be aggressive in networking and making connections with people who are interested in what you offer. Then establish a relationship with them and provide some value to them somehow. They usually will not mind being “sold” after that point and will be more likely to buy your stuff anyway. This is a longer term plan, but has a far better success rate in the end.


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