Is Tell A Friend Strategy Safe To Use?

Tell A Friend (TAF) scripts are quite popular as a viral marketing strategy.
Basically, this strategy lets your site visitor (the sender) send a message to their friends containing an endorsement for your pages, products or services. It will help you increase your market reach.

Since the Tell A Friend strategy is a form of ‘word of mouth’ marketing, it works very well. After all, in theory, the receiver of such an endorsement can see it was sent by a well known person.

To make this strategy a success, you just got to have something great to endorse, otherwise people aren’t willing to use it. That’s why it works best if the sender of the message can benefit from sending it.

Tell A Friend
Photo Credit: pedrosimoes7

There are many TAF systems available on the Net. There’s even a WordPress widget available that does the job: Tell A Friend Through A Widget.

One of the best is a cgi script called TAF Pro.  I’ve used that in the past with great success, because senders of messages can be rewarded.
Rapid Action Profits, the one-stop e-commerce script also includes a TAF option.

Many people apply this strategy in their marketing and some with great success, but I stopped using it, because the tell a friend strategy is on the edge.

Because, as I mentioned above, IN THEORY the receiver of a Tell A Friend endorsement should see the message comes from a close friend.

But quite often that is not the case. The receiver either doesn’t recognize the sender’s email address or the script used doesn’t clearly show such an address.
Of course, senders can also abuse such scripts to send endorsement to everybody. And then there are spam bot and hackers who definitely will abuse any TAF script that isn’t secure.

That’s why, occasionally, tell a friend messages are reported as spam. After all, the recipient receives a message without prior consent. And since that message was sent by YOUR server, you can get into big trouble!

No rewards are allowed and for both receiver as sender it must be utterly clear what was sent and by whom.

One simple way around these requirements is to have the sender send the endorsement from its own PC. You just create a simple form catching the recipients email address and add that to a simple mailto link. This causes the email client from the sender to pop up and send the endorsement from there.

Another way to avoid any problems is to use a third party service. At least, the endorsement will not come from your server. Which doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the rules!

If you use a Tell A Friend script of some sort on your own server, just remember to be very careful, keep an eye on the rules and follow them closely to avoid any problems.

So, how about you?
Do you use a Tell A Friend system?
If so, post your experiences below.

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