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According to just about all of the major media sources Facebook intends to launch it’s own fully featured email client as part of the Web 2.0 Summit on Monday 15th of November.
The email account name will most likely be your own vanity url. So if you haven’t got one already you’d best hurry up in case someone gets the name you want! Some rumours have already confirmed that fb.com has already been purchased by Facebook, presumably for this purpose.
This biggest effect on Email Marketing is the rumour that it will be 100% permission – you will only be able to send email to people who have already given you permission. Things like being friends or fans on Facebook will decide senders’ permission to email a Facebook address.
Challenge for Marketers
Many people have stated that this new level of permission will be the biggest challenge to email marketers ever. With the emergence and popularity of web-apps like Otherinbox which sit in front of multiple inboxes to protect the users of non-permission emails, Facebook’s uber permission stand should not be a surprise.
Recipients are voting with their clicks and they only want email that they have asked for. With Facebook already being a central hub where people have a lot of control over who can see and interact with them, it is likely that many Facebook users will welcome this.
I don’t see this as a challenge, people should know early on that people who are fans on Facebook are people that have gone out of their way to engage with you and are real fans.
Users will have the control over permission, so there will be a larger consequence to getting it wrong and marketers will have to keep the content good to keep the fans in.
The email community who already struggle enough to segregate well should welcome this kind of automatic targeting and now Facebook might do a big chunk of it for you!
All of the press is all about Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Microsoft. With Facebook getting into the email domain, there will be more focus on Email Marketing in the main stream media and those who hold the purse strings will once again be interested in email marketing.
Thus making it shexzy again.
I’m personally very intrigued as to how it will all actually turn out.
Also: the Facebook Search Engine which will apparently use friends’ preferences as well as the user’s to provide results & FBmail will also apparently integrate with Microsoft’s Office Online.
Moving out from Facebook.com to the rest of the internet would put Facebook head to head with Google. This could be a very big leap for Facebook, hopefully not too big in one go but if all of the rumours are even close to right, digital marketing could change a great deal and Email Marketing will be right in the shexzy middle of it.