Everyone has an opinion about privacy, from those who eviscerate Facebook for its privacy lapses, not to mention Google’s own response to “change your name later on in life” for the things you did in your teenage years. What is not part of the argument online is that I have almost daily offers to sell out my friends contact information for some cool stuff like the chance to win an Ipad, or other such shiny new toy.
I love my friends, but would I sell them out to some marketing firm just so I could win a prize, and this is a world where people will give up their corporate username and password for a candy bar. The temptation to “win a big prize” for sharing something, you have an interest in amongst your friends on Facebook, or e-mail is just too tempting. The offers are getting very good from companies lately, and while the focus might be on Facebook, many smaller startups and companies are doing some very interesting campaigning that has serious privacy implications. The more recent ones are the sell your friends out for a prize to get them to join your social network on some other system.
Now, when you import your Gmail, Yahoo! and Windows Live address books, you can see which friends already have X – Widget* and quickly add them. Adding friends to your X Widget is one of the most effective ways to keep your commitments—and help other’s do the same.
1. Invite friends that ARE NOT yet X Widget users.
You can now tell if a friend already has a tree. Choose people that do not yet have a X-WIdget and encourage them to be your friend in X Widget.
2. Each new X Widget = 1 more virtual raffle ticket!
Don’t stop at one. Each friend you add will increase your chance of winning! But of course be sure you invite people that you think will enjoy the benefits of using X Widget.
3. Cross your fingers.
We will announce the winner on October 1st. Contest ends on September 30 at 11:59pm.
* Rules: Deadline for friend confirmations (yes, your friends must accept your request) is September 30, 2010 at 11:59pm. An electronic drawing will occur on October 1, 2010. The randomly selected name will win an Apple iPad, Wi-Fi, 16GB. Valid email is required to receive the prize. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, we will select another name. Your name is entered into the drawing for EVERY FREIND ADDED TO YOUR X WIDGET. So get busy, and good luck!
*Company name changed – there is no company named X-Widget
Technically, I find this amusing because sharing my friends contact information is not something I am likely to do. Especially my contact list, as most of the people in my mail boxes are businesses, suppliers and friends in the startup community. It would be bad form to share my Google contacts across the board for a product. The sad part is that I also know that many of my friends would do this for a chance to get some new shiny toy. Which might explain many of the more interesting spam emails I am getting lately for all sorts of bizarre shopping and other experience sites from out of the blue that I have never heard of and do not really want to hear from in the longer run.
We might be worried about what is happening on Facebook, but we might also want to be worried about what are friends are doing. There is an implicit but unstated promise with private e-mail that my email address will not be give out to just anyone, I trust my friends. There is no written EULA to get my email address, there is no terms of service that someone must sign to get my email address either. Rather it is a form of trust, which in light of getting new shiny toys from companies, might not be much safer than a password and a candy bar.
(Cross-posted @ Managing Intellectual Property & IT Security)