Spam scams emerge on Facebook
I got my first spam scam e-mail generated by Facebook today. These have always come via spam e-mail in the past, but this one came as a Facebook message, thereby cutting through some of my e-mail filters. And because it carried a trust-mark (Facebook message addressed to me) I read it. Here's a sample:
I came across your profile on Prosper page. Just wish to share an investment online with you that you may be keen.
It's an investment with good returns at 10% per 30days. It's web-based and available worldwide.
With only USD1,000 investment, your TOTAL returns will be 220% with USD100 credited every 30days.
This scam arrived via the Prosper Facebook app. Prosper, you will recall, is one of the peer-to-peer lending operations.
My take: this kind of thing has the potential to remove a lot of the appeal of Facebook for legitimate financial firms of any description. It's not a question of real risk to the brand so much as an issue of lying-down-with-dogs and feeling dirty by being in the same vicinity. Another tragedy of the commons. Not a good thing for Facebook or anyone else for that matter.
See our previous articles on Prosper and peer-to-peer lending:
More than Scrabulous: Credit unions, P2P lending now on Facebook, July 15, 2008
Another entrant in the peer to peer lending show, Oct. 21, 2007
Update on Zopa and Prosper, online un-banks, Aug. 17, 2006
Financial Services Innovation Watch: The E-Bay Model Comes to Banking, March 30, 2005
Financial brands damaged by credit crisis
Speaking of lying down with dogs: that's pretty much the situation for financial brands right now, according to a number of firms that track brand equity. Read all about the ugly situation in Marketing Daily in After Bailout, Financial Brands Twist in the Wind, by Sarah Mahoney.
According to Robert Passikoff of consultancy BrandKeys, quoted in the article: "This has fundamentally shifted consumer perceptions of financial service companies." He goes on to suggest that it will take five to 10 years to restore confidence.
I think Mr. Passikoff is a little high on that number, as we seem to have shorter memories. However, the whole thing puts one in mind of the airline crash scenario played out on a Mad Men episode.
What is most important right now to keep in mind is that this mess is not over. Not nearly over. The ripple effects will continue to emerge for months if not years. The story will be in newspapers through to the end of the U.S. election, and beyond, it will be featured in magazine cover stories, and the book writing bonanza hasn't even started.
RBC introduces SMS payments
Finextra reported today that Royal Bank is launching SMS payments capability, which would let people send money via cellphone. I see this having a lot more appeal for the under 25 crowd than e-mail payments, since they generally don't see e-mail as all that reliable.
The marketing of politics
Politics seems to be all about marketing. So much so, that you can now become a politician without having to get elected, as T. Boone Pickens seems to be doing. In his most recent newsletter he's inviting everyone to watch the presidential debate, and then log in to his chat afterward to discuss how the candidates performed on the issue of energy self-sufficiency.
After the debate is over, I want us to have an online chat about what we heard and what we DIDN’T hear the two candidates say about the foreign policy aspects of sending 700 Billion US Dollars to foreign counties every year to pay for the oil we are buying from them.
If Pickens' approach here works, we can expect to see a lot more of it. Very clever marketing.