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Intriguing HuffPo Facebook Marketing

January 21st, 2011 · 6 Comments

I was looking at an article on Huffington Post today and noticed a small curious bit of Facebook Marketing.  In the right hand column of the page they have the “Most Popular On HuffPost” Column.  In that column, which I assume is automatically generated, they have 9 items and second page with 9 more.

What I noticed as unusual was that most of the stories have the Facebook “Like” button, but only a couple have the Facebook “Recommend” button.  The buttons are identical in that they perform a similar function. That is they will post on the Facebook User’s wall a notice that the person Liked or Recommended the article with a link for their friends to click and follow to the HuffPo website. In the image at right you’ll notice that only the Glen Beck story has a “Recommend” button.  All of the other stories regardless of topic have “Like” buttons.  Similarly, on the second page, the only story with a “Recommend” button is about Rush Limbaugh.

The individual articles show the “Recommend” Button as well, not the more common “Like” button which is used elsewhere on the site.  Other recent articles about Limbaugh and Beck don’t show the “Recommend” button.  So it could just be an error.

Perhaps the HuffPo staff think that people who read articles about these two people are more likely to respond to “Recommend” rather than like?  A quick random walk around the site couldn’t find any other articles with “Recommend” Buttons, beyond these two.  But it wasn’t thorough by any means.

I’m not sure if this is a marketing tactic or a secret left wing conspiracy to tell their fans to vote stories up on sites like Digg, etc. (In my experience Will Rodgers was right when he quipped, “I don’t belong to an organized political party, I’m a Democrat.”  Which implies that the Left Wing is incapable of launching a conspiracy.)   But I thought it was an interesting thing to point out and share with you.

Give me 1 Good Reason why you think Huffington Post would do this?

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Neicole Crepeau // Jan 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Hmmm, maybe the Huffington Post just feels that nobody can actually like Limbaugh and Glen Beck articles? So, Recommend is more appropriate?

    Or, maybe they feel that given the tone of the posts by those guys, people are more likely to share them with the Recommend text than if the text reads Like. For example, I wanted to share the story the other week of the Gifford shooting, but I actually felt uncomfortable clicking Like as it would say I “liked” the Gifford shooting.

  • 2 Chris Kieff // Jan 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I’d not thought about the idea of “Like”ing a distasteful story before. But I’ll admit the idea of people not “Like”ing Limbaugh and Beck had crossed my mind. LOL
    Thank you for contributing to the discussion.

  • 3 Rhona Bronson // Jan 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Here’s my take… the two personalities have PR/marketing staff who require written contracts between their talent and the Huffpost. The contract, I’d bet, requires the recommend button on all posts. So, although it’s not the Huffpost style for regular entries, they do it for the required talent entries as they’re willing to make changes for potentially high traffic drivers, aka name talent with large followings.

  • 4 Angelique // Jan 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Here’s what I think is going on: HuffPost believes, but doesn’t have absolute proof, that people are more likely to share HuffPost articles if they do not have to declare that they “like” the subjects. To test this, they put “recommend” buttons next to articles about the two people with whom most HuffPost readers would be embarrassed to be associated.

    If there is an increase in the number of times that articles about Beck and Limbaugh are shared via the “recommend” button over the “like” button, they will have their answer.

    Personally, I think that HuffPost should just make “recommend” the standard sharing button for all articles.

  • 5 Chris Kieff // Jan 23, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I “Like” the testing hypothesis. LOL thanks fir sharing your thoughts.

  • 6 Chris Kieff // Jan 23, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Those articles were about those people not by them.

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