There’s been some recent grumblings over certain uses of Facebook’s new “Like” button for fan pages, but none more interesting then when a page requires you to “Like” it before giving you access to hidden content. Take Nike Football’s recent explosive fan growth, for example. The growth was spurred by Nike Football requiring fan page visitors to “Like” the page before granting them access to their new adrenaline-pumping video ad for the World Cup a few days before it was aired elsewhere. After clicking the “Like” button page visitors were granted access to the video (who said viral videos can’t be multimillion dollar productions?).
But is this like-then-reward tactic ethical? Probably. Annoying? That’s up for debate. While I believe this tactic can be a creative and powerful tool when used properly, I have to side with bloggers such as Asi from No Man’s Blog and Andy from Now in Color if this strategy becomes proliferated among Facebook Pages. There needs to be sufficient value in the reward provided. In my opinion, Nike’s ad was worth the “Like”. As for Liking a friend’s garage sale page to see her house address? Not so much.
I suppose the brand or organization behind the fan page is a major determinant of how we react to the like-then-reward tactic. Consider Pedigree’s recent abandoned dog adoption drive in the United Kingdom. For every “Like” of the Pedigree Adoption Drive fan page, the company donates 50 GBP to the PetPlan Charitable Trust, a non-profit organization that helps promote the health and welfare of animals. How can you not applaud that? The strategy generated a positive buzz, attracted thousands of Likes, and supports a good cause.
Up to this point, Facebook has done a good job of limiting the use of the like-then-reward approach to big brands such as Nike, Pedigree, and Papa John’s. It will be interesting to see if this tool becomes available to the general public. If so, Facebook needs to put sufficient measures in place to prevent the flood of this tactic across any run of the mill fan page.
What measures you ask? That’s a good question for which I don’t have a straightforward answer. In my opinion, there needs to be some sort of qualification process. Perhaps, and I know this will anger some, Facebook should make this a premium feature. Requiring a minimal monthly fee would help solve two problems: (1) It would make any Joe Shmo page admin think twice before using the feature, and (2) it would help Facebook earn revenue without worrying about causing a stir with privacy issues.
What do you think? Should the like-then-reward strategy be available to the general public? Should it be used at all?