The audacity of people will always amaze me, and facebook just brings
that home even more. You can’t trust your facebook friends sometimes,
and here is why.
Over the weekend I was quietly scanning through facebook and
noticed that one of my facebook friends had posted a link to an offsite
data storage system. This is a product I am looking for because I want
to access my data especially my audio and video files from anywhere. I
am quickly running out of hard drive and am getting tired of lugging
around an external hard drive as well. This is a perfect solution for
me. So I went to go look only to find out if I had signed up the person
who provided the link provided a referral link – a link they make money
For me this is wrong in so many ways it is not even funny.
Ethically – I am not here to make anyone else money via referrals,
that is not how I want to spend my day and not something I am going to
approve of generally. Embedding a referral link might work for some,
and I am sure that people fall for this trick all the time, in my
opinion it feels like I am being used, and few people really like being
used. Especially since the referral link was masked under a URL
shortener, and if I had not paid attention to the original link I would
have missed the referral code.
Burning the Relationship – by embedding a referral link into the
post – they basically used their facebook friends to make money or get
a free service. Using friends is not a good way to go through life and
they should have disclosed that this was a referral link. Otherwise for
anyone who signed up, they got used by their facebook friend.
The social media outcome – some of the discussions about this on
Facebook have been interesting with the general consensus that they are
annoying and unproductive
for users. This falls back to burning the relationship and being
ethically challenged if you are using your facebook friends for money.
Who is going to trust you in the future if this is what you are
planning on doing.
Scammers and other issues – we have all seen far too many scams on
facebook already with games, people are getting smart to this. There
are companies that recommend you use your friends to make money on
facebook and there are some that have been successful at this. The
problem comes in that you might start looking scammy to your friends
cutting down on your ability to get any traction on something you do
think is important. People are less likely to click on non-referral
links if they think all your links are self serving referral links.
Something to think about if you are busy propagating referral links
on facebook, eventually you will start having problems and you will
start getting fewer and fewer friends as the news percolates through
the system that you don’t post good stuff, you post self serving stuff.
(Cross-posted @ IT Toolbox)