Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the problem with the "like" trade

earlier today randy abrams posted an interesting take on facebook advertising and how misleading the word "like" can be (http://randy-abrams.blogspot.com/2011/12/facebook-misleading-advertising.html). this reminded me of a beef that i've apparently had going back at least as far as may of this year (judging by the timestamp on the screenshot i took).

specifically, randy said the following:
If I have to “like” a page to get the information I want, I don’t have a problem with that
well, with all due respect to randy, i do have a problem with it. randy makes some good points about the way people's pictures get used in facebook ads when they "like" things, but a point he neglected is that forcing users to "like" or otherwise post about something before they can see the content they've been lured with is a popular tactic in facebook scams.

now, i'm not trying to suggest that security companies making use of this marketing methodology are scam artists (though i am tempted to say that all marketing is in some way a scam) but they should be aware that by utilizing this sort of marketing they are effectively endorsing a marketing methodology (developed by facebook) that breeds victims. i don't expect facebook to care about such things, since such trickery is how they make their money, but i certainly expect security companies (especially ones with as strong a leaning towards empowering users as eset) to know better than to go along with facebook's questionable methods and do things like this:
"like"s are not something to be bought from users in exchange for free or otherwise tempting content. they are an endorsement and as such can't be legitimate until after the user has sampled the content. the idea of exploiting illegitimate user endorsements should be recognized as unethical and should be understood to have consequences. by using the sort of techniques that scam artists thrive on, one is basically training people to be victims. i expect better from security companies and i think you should too.