There’s a new trend that I’m seeing emerge which requires users to “pay with a like” before content is displayed to the user. This causes users to share something before even seeing it. One of the bigger profile examples is Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed III’s marketing campaign which required users to like and share a trailer to “unlock” a gameplay trailer. Within days, this trailer was unlocked, but what if the new gameplay trailer was below standards? The users would have felt slighted for sure, but that is an established franchise and brand so it may be able to get away with the idea. That doesn’t mean I can get behind the principle.
Why I don’t like pre-sharing
The purpose of likes and social sharing is to share content you’ve found that you think your audience will like too. If they like it, then they share it as well. There’s been a recent set of plugins to “pay with a like” which locks content behind social sharing. I get the concept. You want exposure to mass audiences, and if that reader really fits your demographic then if he shares then you might have hit the mother load.
This goes against the general understanding of generating great content to encourage sharing. From a user’s perspective you’re taking a leap of faith to share a site or content which you haven’t seen yet. What if you send your followers a link to a site that ultimately doesn’t deliver? There is also the issue to think about that your followers will likely fall into the same trap by needing to like and share the content as well. While it may not be the last straw, your influence may diminish when you link to content that is sub-par.
What I’d like to see
In the simplest of terms, I want to see this idea go away. I don’t feel it will be overly successful for 99% of brands, and it sets a dangerous precedent on what to do with your content and social sharing. You can’t force content to go viral, and forcing users to share the content is a hostile takeover.
Do you agree? What do you think about requiring social sharing before displaying content?