FaceBook Marketing: Giving Businesses Free Advertising by Selling Your Reputation

I just recently got an email from a charity asking me to vote for funding. I am for the charity, so I went to this page to vote. I then found out the “details”.

In order to vote, I have to like Cultivate, a company I have never done business with. Until I log into FaceBook and like them, I cannot vote. And, once I do sign in, they have the right to state I voted on my page. Essentially, this is free advertising to all of my friends, every day, for a company I know nothing about.

The masses see this and think this company wants to help out. And they think they are giving the company a chance to help out their charity. But, in reality, they are giving the company free views every day on the largest social media site in the world.

Why the beef Greg? Well, if I can use an analogy … In the United States, you cannot hold a sweepstakes that forces you to buy. The reason for this law is it essentially ties a game of chance to purchase, making it easy to game the system so the winning entry stays within your inner circle. Now, companies certainly make it harder to enter without buying, but anyone can enter for free if it is a game of chance.

Now forcing someone to like you to is not illegal, but it holds the same principal. In order to play, you have to pay. Admittedly, the cost is very low (“give me some free social marketing”), but there is still a cost. And once they have access to your page, they have the option of “reminding” you and your friends daily, posting that you have voted, etc.

I would not be disgusted if Cultivate encouraged liking them or encouraged you to post that you had voted. This is good social marketing. But to force you to like them to even vote sends me the message “unless you give me some free advertising on your reputation, I won’t let you help YOUR charity”. The converse message is “No, I won’t help YOUR charity unless you buy me off with free marketing”. That is slimy.

I won’t do it. And every time I am hit with someone trying to get me to vote, I am going to respond negatively on social media to ensure they are aware why I am against this. I don’t want to support a business I don’t use simply to get a few dollars thrown at my charity. It makes me feel like a prostitute… and it should make you feel that way too. And, I would love it if you would tell these companies the same thing.

If you want to participate, you can start with Cultivate Wines (https://www.facebook.com/cultivatewines or Twitter @cultivatewines), as it is the one I saw. Assume they are ignorant of the sliminess of the tactic and how it goes against proper Netiquette. In other words, let them know, but be nice.

Peace and Grace,

Twitter: @gbworld


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