Friday, April 1, 2011

Trying to deceive or just an honest mistake?

That is the question which I am asking and I need your opinion.
Like buttons are now ubiquitous. You see them everywhere on the web. One place where they are prominent and where I actually click on them are news websites. There are so many articles, opinon columns etc. that without a recommendation system, catching up on news seems to be an overload to the brain. Like buttons help me recommend articles which I like so that my friends may read the same. They also help me discover articles which my friends liked. So alongwith my twitter feed, which serves as the primary recommendation filter, the facebook likes provide a good way for me to discover content.
The standard practice that most international news-sites and blogs have, is to associate a Like button with a specific article or a post. You will notice this pattern in sites like techcrunch and new york times . So when I 'Like' a post on techcrunch by Vivek Wadhwa, this recommendation shows up on my friends' news feed and points to the particular article.
Now, today I read this article about Shahid Afridi asking, "Why do we hate India?". I thought it was a good piece of news so I 'Liked' the article. Or at least that is what I thought I was doing. A few hours later when I logged into facebook again my 'news feed' had quite a few posts from But why was this showing on my 'news feed'? I never 'liked' All I did was 'Like' a particular article on But wait a second. That is what I thought I had done, when I clicked on the Like button for the particular article. In reality, the 'Like' button I clicked was for the facebook page of So while I thought I was 'Liking' a particular article, I was actually deceived into 'liking' (rather subscribing to posts) from
So I felt cheated and angry. But the big question now is, was this deception intentional or an honest mistake? And while the number of likes of the facebook page may increase and give impression of growing popularity, if more and more users had the same experience as me, isn't it actually a sign of the brand losing its credibility? What are your thoughts? Have you noticed this in other websites? Is this an India only phenomena?
PS: I noticed that Snapdeal also has a single like button for all its deals and I DO NOT think that is an honest mistake. Its deceiving the user and then spamming the facebook feeds.

Posted via email from Random thoughts about tech and entrepreneurship

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