In Return For Free Wifi? What Is And What Should Be Allowed In Terms of Value Exchange?

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I did a social sign in the other night at the Cumberland Arms and did a double take before authorizing the ”permissions” in exchange for free wifi.

return for free

Of the four “opt ins” requested, which one gets your hair up most? Update your profile? Read your tweets?

For me, it was definitely the fourth one:

“Post Tweets for you.”

I was most hesitant. A little later, I found that they had in fact taken advantage of that permission. So often, you click on the permission out of convenience and then kind of close your eyes to what that really might mean. In this case, this is the tweet they sent from my account:

return for free

Adding Value To The Exchange

On the one hand, this is rather innocuous. Of course, it does indicate where I am (and potentially suggests what I am doing). On the other hand, though, it seems like a basic waste of space. It’s hardly a tweet that spurs engagement and it’s not likely to send droves of people to the Cumberland Arms.

So, here are a few guidelines that I might suggest to brands/businesses wishing to capitalize on people’s social presence.

  1. Indicate what kind of tweets you plan to put out.
  2. Better yet, provide a choice so that the individual buys in…
  3. Propose a value-added tweet. E.g. “Enjoying “super fast” wifi and free content at …” Or “Free wifi allows for faster service here at…” Alternatively, add a link to an offer where both the tweeter and a follower who RT’s or Likes it get a benefit.
  4. Add in your own handle into the tweet.

It doesn’t but take a bit of creativity… While the social sign up options are a template from Twitter, it’s what you do with it that counts. Here’s another set of opt-ins, from Crowdfire (freemium Twitter account management) that goes much further:

return for free

The one that makes me scratch my head is the last one: what Crowdfire will not be able to do….? The reality is that, as a brand, you must evaluate what you giving away and how you plan to create a valuable exchange in return for the free service. Fortunately, free wifi is becoming more prevalent and businesses are cottoning on to the options and opportunities. But, as ever, we can expect marketers to use and abuse the system. How are you planning to enhance your trustworthiness to encourage the exchange of data or access to your customers’ accounts?

What value are truly providing to your customer in return for free wifi (in the case of the pub)?

P.S. If these kinds of permissions worry you (as an user), you ought to check out the 3rd party authorizations in your Twitter settings. Here’s a Twitter help page to indicate how to do that!

3 Comments, RSS

  1. David

    Wow – innocuous or not, there’s no way I’m giving anyone the permission to do any of those things in return for wifi access. Just yesterday I refused to give anything more than my email address. They wanted real name, full street address, and two phone numbers. Yes, it’s their network. And yes, they can ask what they like. But if they take liberties like that people are going to opt out pretty quickly. (Also, did you know that it’s impossible to see what you’re writing in the comment section, as it shows up white on white? You have to highlight everything in order to proof-read it.)

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