Facebook for BlackBerry and the wrong kind of push marketing

10Jun09

A few days ago, a Facebook icon mysteriously appeared on my BlackBerry’s main menu screen. Apparently, my mobile carrier has some sort of deal with Facebook to help promote the new Facebook for BlackBerry application. I tried to remove the program, but it didn’t appear in my applications list. I even tried launching the program to look for a removal option, but it was just a web link asking you to download the Facebook application. Ironically, they want to all that effort to install the icon on everyone’s BlackBerry, but didn’t even include the program itself.

This whole approach is stupid. Rather than confusing and annoying users by forcing an icon onto their device, the wireless carrier should just send a text message or email letting people know the Facebook application is available, including a link to download it. I can’t even think of a suitable analogy from the offline world. To be as obnoxious as the Facebook icon, the marketer would have to find a way to break into your home or office and glue some annoying product right on your desk or kitchen table.

Analogies aside, forcing a new program on your customers, without any way to opt-out or remove it, is a poor business practice. If you’re ever tempted to do this, consider using email instead. The conversion rates might be lower, but at least you won’t be mobilizing an army of angry customers against you in the process.



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