Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Going Old School- GoodReads

Wow, I wanted to get my sister on GoodReads, a Web2.0 social community for readers (my profile), and encountered something rather old school on a relatively hip site.

I’ll put in a screenshot so you see what I mean:

The part that alarms me: “Copy the message below into an email. Send the email to friends to invite them.”

Wow, so old-fashioned. Are they avoiding possible forward-to-a-friend (FTAF) send issues? Is this just old-school for old-school users? Or, is this just a way they can avoid the whole hassle of spawning bulk issues from their mail servers, and otherwise storing and managing email accounts, unsubscriptions, etc.? Perhaps they don’t want this to be thought of as a harvesting or acquisition ploy, and this is an indicator that the market in general is shifting away from FTAF kind of methods? Intriguingly old-fashioned.

The “invite a friend” aspect of social networks like Pownce, Plurk, and countless others has spawned a few “is this spam” fears, especially with CAN-SPAM laws getting refined. Perhaps GoodReads solves this problem by offering APIs into 4 major inboxes, and then this clunky manual version by “copying it into an email.”

At first, being an online marketer, I thought they were encoding the link to source their referrals- but then realized, no, it’s so the invitee can find the inviter on these social networks. Still, pretty clunky, and I wonder how many people are doing it this way.

More Reading: CAN-SPAM and Forward-to-A-Friend
Return Path’s “CAN-SPAM Rules Update: What Senders Need to Know” Scroll down for the peer-to-peer clause, basically you’re OK if there’s no inducement to forward.
More small type from Exact Target

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Written on Monday, 28. July 2008 at 16:04 In the category social networks, spam. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

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  1. Nope, the reason is simply that we’ve done usability testing and found that people can remember more email addresses if they are using their own email client rather than typing emails into a form on the site.

    Comment: Otis – 29. July 2008 @ 11:40 pm

  2. Thanks Otis. The usability results showed that giving users the forward link so they could use it in their webmail account’s To field resulted in more forwards than having them enter it in a form on your site? Interesting.

    Comment: banane – 29. July 2008 @ 11:47 pm

  3. [...] (Don’t believe this? Check out what social network GoodReads had to say about why they use forwarding instead of “send to friend”) [...]

    Pingback: Double Your Blog Newsletter Readers: Encourage Sharing! - Email Marketing Tips by AWeber – 11. August 2008 @ 7:49 am

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