You’ve Got Mail 2.0
Ignore Orkut, OpenSocial, Yahoo Mash and Yahoo 360. Google and Yahoo have come up with new and very similar plans to respond to the challenge from MySpace and Facebook: They hope to turn their e-mail systems and personalized home page services (iGoogle and MyYahoo) into social networks.
Web-based e-mail systems already contain much of what Facebook calls the social graph — the connections between people. That’s why the social networks offer to import the e-mail address books of new users to jump-start their list of friends. Yahoo and Google realize that they have this information and can use it to build their own services that connect people to their contacts. >>Full Story
Thoughts// Saul Hansell at the New York Times gave readers a glimpse into some potentially big plans for internet giants Yahoo! and Google via the Bits blog. While the story is quite in-depth and a good summary of what these two companies might be planning, the subtle hint for any email marketer comes in this line from Yahoo!’s Brad Garlinghouse:
First, the e-mail service is made more personal because it displays messages more prominently from people who are more important to you. Yahoo is testing a method that can automatically determine the strength of your relationship to someone by how often you exchange e-mail and instant messages with him or her.
Makes sense, I would rather see the emails from my family and friends before emails from HP or AT&T. And there is the problem for marketers…displays messages more prominently from people who are more important to you…read, your email about a fare sale on airline X is going to be visually less important than an email from Aunt Ruth.
Granted, this type of program is not going to happen overnight…no need to start canceling your email campaigns…but as a good marketer it is something you should be thinking of. And more importantly, start thinking about how you are communicating with your email database currently. Is your database a loyal collection of consumers who want and enjoy your emails or is it a huge list of names that you blast correspondence to every once and a while?
Engage your email database and create a relationship with them. So that your email is not discarded to the bottom of the pile.