Thursday, January 21, 2010

Facebook Shares User E-mail Addresses With Application Developers

Facebook announced yesterday that application developers will now have access to user e-mail addresses. The change comes after an announcement in October where the company seeks to offer direct access between user and application.

Additionally, the update will help to minimize spam. Facebook recognizes the number of complaints concerning unwanted notifications. By allowing users to decide which applications they want to hear from, spammy apps will be a thing of the past.

User Hesitations
While eliminating spam from a user's wall and notification window is good news, there are new concerns about spam simply transferring to e-mail. Another concern voiced by a reader on Twitter is the sharing of personal email addresses outside of Facebook. The reader wrote, "They should have just continued with the proxy email addresses you used to get from the API."

According to the Facebook blog, users will have total control over the sharing and access to email. Soon, developers will release a new dialog box asking for permission to contact you via email. At this point, the article states users can approve or deny permission to any application. Additionally, users may use a proxy email account, which allows for communication without knowing the actual address.
What Does This Mean for Me?
For developers, marketers, and public relation offices, the update means greater access to end-users. Having a user's email account will make portal account creations easier and more seamless. Additionally, campus content creators that produce newsletters, announcements, and other notifications will have direct contact with individuals interested in hearing from the institution.

For an example, NCCU alumni who are signed into myEOL using their Facebook account may consent to receive news about the university and potential fundraising efforts.

The strategy of leveraging technology where the people live is more effective than making users come to you.

In light of the change, how do you see developers using emails? What advantage do you see users having? Let's talk more in the comment section below.

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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