If you’re like me, your Facebook newsfeed might have been clogged with announcements of your friends and family claiming offers, like these (note the friend’s name and page have been removed):
I’ve seen a fair amount of chatter and concern about these in the last couple days, so I thought I’d take a few moments out to address what’s happening.
If you thought such notices were spam, you’re not alone. I sure did too – and I’ve warned you about fake Facebook offers before! Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you see it), Facebook has launched a new way for pages to get the word out about their offers. They will be charging pages administrators for this feature, but are allowing them to try it once for free.
Here is how The Coupon Project Facebook page looks from my end (administrator) in the status update area. You see the “Offer, Event” feature is available to me:
It’s my theory that this feature is for pages that have specific offers to share (say a plumbing business offering a 20% off coupon or a major retailer offering a sample of their product) to get the word out quickly (and of course, have Facebook profit from it). When I decided to “claim” an offer, I noticed it immediately broadcast that information to all my Facebook friends and family. So you can see the draw for pages to give this a whirl – it gives them added visibility that a simple status update would not.
Here is where things become problematic, at least in my mind. I’m seeing many third-party offers posted from bloggers via their Facebook pages. Meaning, they aren’t posting offers for their coupon classes or ebooks, but the same “offers” you’d find simply by visiting their blog – the kind of stuff you often find here at The Coupon Project, too. Such as photo offers, freebies other companies are offering, and the like. Two concerns. First, many of these offers are affiliate-based (meaning the blogger stands to profit from them) and *may* infringe upon some of the terms & conditions of those affiliate relationships (that’s solely a concern for the blogger). The second concern is that some of these offers are reading as spammy (at best) or dishonest/misleading (at worst). I’m hearing that some bloggers are getting extremely negative feedback from trying the offers out.
Here’s a popular one you might have seen,which was circulating all over last night:
Enticing, no? I’ll admit it – I clicked on this one myself. After all, who wouldn’t want a $10 Target gift card? And knowing that these are being offered via a new application in Facebook takes a bit of that “phony” layer away.
In this scenario, you realize only after you claim the offer that you are directed to a blogger’s site where it’s clear the offer is only for new Ebates sign ups and only after a $25 purchase is made. This is, in fact, an offer that Ebates has had for a very, very long time. It is nothing new. (If you’re interested – please do take a look at Ebates – and full disclosure, yes, that is my referral link!) Unfortunately, the bloggers that are doing this may make Ebates seem spammy by association. Even worse, by the time I realized I’d been duped, an update had already gone out to my friends and family that I’d “claimed” this offer. Not cool in my book.
“Gee Angela, you seem to be judgmental of these bloggers!” On the contrary, while I don’t agree with this approach, I’m keenly sympathetic to them! As a blogger myself, I’ve been extremely frustrated by how Facebook has altered things making it very difficult to get my posts seen in the newsfeed for the very folks that have opted to follow me there without posting funny pictures of cats every day and begging you to share them or starting every Facebook update with “like this post.” It’s my belief that bloggers are testing this feature to see if it will bring them new readers and traffic. And I can completely understand folks wanting to experiment and try new things when it comes to Facebook!
So let’s do a quick recap:
- These offers are being shared by a new application which was made available to Facebook pages.
- Facebook page administrators can choose the offers they wish to post, which means the offer may or may not be legit.
- When you claim an offer, that information is being broadcast to your friends & family.
- It’s my belief that most bloggers trying this feature out are doing just that – trying this feature out in an attempt to grow their Facebook presence and are not trying to be off-putting or spammy.
Given the negative chatter I’m seeing, I’m pretty sure I will not be trying this feature out because I don’t feel comfortable using it to put up offers from third-parties as well as potentially off-putting my awesome Facebook pals in an attempt to gain new ones.
I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on this new feature? If you’re a blogger – have you tried it, and if so what was the result?