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It’s a familiar refrain:   brands learn to play in a new medium and stumble as they walk the line between “being one of the crowd” and succumbing to their natural urge to achieve “measurable results”.  Early movers get spanked for screwing up the “customer dialogue” and other brands sit on the sideline, paralyzed by fear.  When they do jump in, we get to see really clumsy attempts to fit their square peg marketing objectives into the round hole of social media.  It’s really quite entertaining – and relatively harmless in the long run – to see people make the same mistakes all over again…they did it with Geocities, blogs, podcasting, and FB.   A lot has changed, but really nothing has changed.  The Golden Rule still applies:  Do unto others.

That’s why I’ve been predicting the demise of “fan-gating”, a practice that flies in the face of good community stewardship.   Brands who participate in fangating are crossing a line drawn long ago:  “forced opt-in”.   Today no brand would think of forcing someone to join their mailing list before interacting with their site…it’s imperious, invasive, insensitive, not to mention self-defeating – what good is a list full of people who consider your content spam?  You think you’re going to convert them with more off-target emails (I mean, convert them with annoying wall postings)?  How 2003 of you!

But do a quick look at “fangating” and the titles that come reek stunningly of this attitude, like “How to Hide Content Until Someone Likes Your Facebook Fan Page”.  Let’s face it, “Like” = “Opt in”.  But under the banner of FB it’s suddenly acceptable to oxymoronically force an opt-in.  One of the only great things about being old is it gives you perspective…and the acceptance of fangating is big red flag for me about what’s going on at FB.

And it isn’t like I don’t understand the drive:  big brands today have a whole budget, separate from “digital”or “social”, called “Facebook”…and the biggest success metric measuring the agency in the eyes of the CMO?  “Likes”, of course.  Why?  Measurable.  Yikes.

Facebook should stop brands from fangating…for the brands’ own good, but also their own.  And I predict they will…in fact, I’m so sure of it that we’re giving away an iPad2 to 10 lucky winners!  All you have to do is use the following code and you’ll receive…[Like this page to continue reading].

ps – jkng.