• http://twitter.com/bosilytics Thomas Bosilevac

    As a marketer working in that ancient world of Direct Marketing, this is certainly not a new concept as your article suggests. While the laws in place to protect privacy are more enforcable on a information aquisition concept, I wonder how this will change when the amount of free, public, and creative commons data is out there about consumers.

    Let it be known, in my niche of web analytics, this data is used for CRM purposes but also to create segmentation by intrests, location, network, etc.

    The fact about FlowTown is that I must have an email address before any value is derived from the tool. The way it should be. As always … the web only knows what you have told it. Ever.

  • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

    Thomas, As a consumer feel that FlowTown crosses a line. If I give you my email address, I don't expect to get junk mail from you. Likewise, I am pretty selective about my social networks, and don't see an email address as permission for you to friend or DM me.

    As a marketer, I have to make a decision about what 'permission' means. As marketers, we can get away with much more if we're sending out entertaining, informational or helpful messages. Too many of us do not, however.

    Brian

  • http://twitter.com/smartwoman Vicki Flaugher

    I am a bit of two minds, as I sense you are too, Brian. The feeling in my gut tells me Flowtown goes too far yet I am not blind to the marketing angle. I can even see how your more gentle approach of content-oriented social media strategy is a kinder one. The problem for me is that initial asking for permission email is still spam email. It's unsolicited and derived from information that I did not purposefully give a person to use (at least not for the purpose they are using it for). But, again, the devil on the other shoulder says “hey, come on, your email is everywhere on the web”. I might generally forgive a person who used content to offer me something via Flowtown methods (I wouldn't spam the email but I would unsubscribe) but if I could determine they reached out unsolicited, I'd likely go unfollow and unfriend them (and report them as spam) and be done. Heavy sigh…it seems like such an attractive method yet I still can't get rid of the creepy feeling. I'll try to keep an open mind…