Monday, August 30, 2010

Overdue thoughts on the Facebook "Like"

I've been trying to replace my previous post for awhile, but I've been tremendously busy with job transitions and a relocation from Los Angeles to San Jose, and then from San Jose to San Francisco last week.  I just got brought on as the product marketer at a new startup that deals with video and photo facial recognition technology on the desktop and mobile phone, which will give me a lot of great ideas (but likely less time) for posts to come.

I've been wanting to write up some thoughts about the Facebook "Like" button since the f8 announcement, but I've been too preoccupied to sit down and write this blog.  Regardless, I'll speak to the "like" button for a few lines, and have seen interesting implementations of it by now.  

As a marketer and SEO-enthusiast, I've enjoyed speculating on the direction of the "like" button, especially as Facebook is using it to index all of the Facebook Connected sites within Facebook's search.  I discovered early on that if I "liked" a Sephora product on Sephora's website, and then searched "Sephora" in my Facebook search box, it would bring up the Sephora website in a new tab, which was really exciting to see, since the potential of Facebook creating a customized search index for me is game changing.

From a marketing perspective, I found that you can create social graph posts that specify an initial "like", but redirect the hyperlink to a separate website.  For instance, I could have someone "like" a piece of art or an artist on my website, but the hyperlink in the wall post on Facebook that would say "Marisol liked 'Wake Up Spring'", doesn't necessarily have to direct back to that art piece or artist.  Some sites that are clearly experimenting with the potential of this hole are and  Marketers are always looking to be the first to exploit holes or opportunities in new messaging/spamming features on Facebook or other platforms, so the fact that Facebook will allow 15 different pages to be created for "Avatar" from different "likes" (i.e. Avatar liked on IMDB, Avatar liked on Rotten Tomatoes, Avatar liked on Flixster, etc) is a huge, but temporary, hole. has just revamped their whole website to revolve around this redirect opportunity, and is enabling users to like hundreds of different topics, categories, and things on their site, all of which will create "like" newsfeed posts on Facebook that all redirect back to  I'm not actually sure if it's bringing them that much traffic, but it's a good implementation of a "like" button experiment.  

Facebook limits developers to using "like" buttons that say either "like" or "recommend". tried a different tactic, and enables users to "recommend" specific users, which posts "like" wall posts about specific people's names to user Facebook profiles, and then redirects the hyperlink from the specified name, to the person's profile on  I haven't had a chance to try this out at a company yet, because my previous company wanted to remain completely white hat, but I intend to try it out at my current gig.

A really interesting aspect to what is doing, is that Facebook page owners can message users in their newsfeeds about relevant information to the product.  I am speculating that at some point, Facebook will want to narrow down the number of duplicate results that it returns for a single search term, and may consolidate fans under any term with the most users.  Under this assumption, could possibly get their "basketball on" page ranked the highest, with a possibility of getting more fans if other basketball pages are consolidated into theirs.  

I am going to have to try out some different "like" implementations, and I'll report back here.

In the meantime, I just realized that this post was incredibly long, so I'll discuss thoughts on Facebook Places another night.


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