Social Media Scamming

There is a long-overdue discussion (a few follow-on posts) that got kicked off by Michael Arrington this weekend on the topic of incentive advertising ecosystem that is supporting the hyper-growth social gaming industry.  I have not studied the details of the issue.  Nor do I click on the types of ads that he's talking about.  However, as a social media user, I am absolutely certain that there is not enough value created through this type of advertising models to justify the enormous revenues we are hearing that surround this industry. I am very happy that Mike has decided to tackle the issue.

The debate has reminded me of a very widely-known secret in the Turkish internet and mobile industries.  If you speak to anyone who was a player in the ring-tone/logo download mania we had a few years ago, they will confide in you that it was a common practice to get people to sign up for (usually) worthless services and charge them through subscription fees buried in thick fine print (and sometimes not even hidden, simply omitted).

The GSM operators turned a somewhat blind eye to this for a while, but recently, with government and customer pressure, they now seem to be doing an effective job at policing their ecosystem.

Clay Shirky describes social media as "anything worth spamming".  I guess we will go on seeing many versions of the type of scams that Arrington is pointing out, or the versions in Turkey I mentioned.  What is critical is those of us with a clear vantage into these issues need to bring them up with more rigor.