Facebook and Twitter both offer access to certain websites via apps: they allow you to sign in to them, and you are asked if you are happy with sharing your personal information with, let's say, Digg.com. Therefore, certain companies have jumped on the bandwagon because association with a bigger company grants them a certain level of respectability than they'd get without it. And boy, do they take advantage of it!
The Apps advantage
Facebook is a social networking phenomenon. Although it's being eclipsed by Twitter, you can actually link them so your tweets appear on FB. Apps like this are incredibly useful because they save on duplication and help to make the most of your FB account by automatically updating your status for you.
However, some of the other apps are either useless or underhand in their approach. What annoys me is that they pretend to be part of the free and helpful apps that Facebook offers, but they either won't work unless you pay for them or don't work at all. Here are some of the worst offenders, in my personal experience.
A business app, it promises to help you to
- Discover New, Highly Targeted Customers
- Measure Success and Optimize Your social Outreach
- Organize Your Social Networks in One Place
One of my Facebook friends actually uses it, so he must be happy with it. What irks me about it is that it's not accessible as an app. When I contacted them for support, the reply was, "Our facebook app is actually being used more as a page right now, and is not our actual platform. If you want to sign up for a free trial, just visit www.sproutsocial.com."
So what's it doing on the Apps page if it's not an actual app? I don't have a problem with the service being offered per se, I'm just annoyed that they've put it on the Apps page when they should have it on a fan page instead.
This is a paid service, and to be fair, is pretty upfront about the fact that they don't work for free. Accessed from the Promotions App, they offer a service where you can set up your own promotions as a contest, sweepstake, voucher or group deal via your Facebook fan page.
They claim to have won awards for their work, but when I tried to use their website I found tutorials where one page wasn't linked to another - that I could see - and the pop-out image they were using to display promotion options couldn't be moved and disappeared at the bottom so you couldn't read the last few lines. You can't even customise your campaigns, only add whatever text they allow you.
I've given them the heads-up about it, so hopefully they'll sort it out quickly. I can't see how a hard-to- use website can get any awards at all.
I'll let them do the talking here:
NOTE: This is not a free Involver application. To use coupons you must be a paid client at the Professional level or above. Visit: www.involver.com to see pricing.
It's fun to play with, but I found it hard to edit and difficult to get rid of.
Easypromos is an application that enables you to add promotions and competitions to your Facebook page. Main features:
- Manage and customize your own promos.
- Increase your number of fans by offering exclusive promos.
- Launch competitions for your fans and let them vote for the winners.
- Generate Excel sheets with entries.
- 15$ per promotion. First promo is free.
That's very good, but like the other one, I found it hard to edit without deleting it and starting again, and even that didn't work. Then I had a bit of a struggle to get rid of it.
It started off so well. The free version is customisable, but has the company brand at the bottom. That's fine, it's not too intrusive, and I'm happy to promote companies that offer freebies. The paid version removes all that and offers extra features.
I enjoyed playing with the features that allow you to upload pictures and insert text to make a nice landing page for your fan page. It would have been gorgeous! It's just that it's an absolute fiend to edit: when you try to change the pictures, it won't post the results to the page you want it on, and forces you onto your other fan pages once you've made a page with it. Even deleting it and starting again doesn't work. I suppose you have to clear cache or something, but really, it shouldn't do that. And it's a devil to get rid of once you've started with it.
I daresay some people will disagree and say they've been using the above apps with no problems. Fair dues, it's just that my own experience with them was frustrating and put me right off considering using them. That said, I'm using over 20 Facebook Apps with no problems. It's the promotional ones that give me grief: the utilitarian ones for connecting me with other sites work fine.