I’m sure they’re not the first to do this, but I really hate it: referral marketing.
SingTel, Singapore’s main phone operator, is encouraging Singaporeans to spam their friends via email, twitter, Facebook and SMS.
The sad thing is they’ll have to do this a lot to get anywhere. You get 1 point for every tweet post a day, and 1 point for every post on Facebook a day. If you get a friend to sign up for the program you get 10 points.
Get in the top five and you get to win a Macbook or an iPhone.
Given the top guy already has 742 referrals, I’m pretty sure that means someone is going to have to send out 7,420 tweets to get close. (The rules aren’t clear on this.)
As you can see, however, it’s appallingly popular. Ten in the past minute:
Ugh. Any of my Facebook or twitter friends do it and they’re off my Christmas card list.
And companies that don’t understand social media, who think it’s just another spamming channel, need to get a wake-up call. That’s you, Singtel.
Win an iPhone with SingTel Youth Buddies
Here’s more on voice recognition replacing touch-tone menus. Is it a good thing?
ScanSoft have teamed up today with Unified Communications – ’the leading provider of proprietary telecommunication solutions in Asia’ — to launch OneVoice, a ‘voice portal application’ for Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel). OneVoice is a speech-activated service that uses ScanSoft’s SpeechWorks speech recognition and text-to-speech software to allow SingTel subscribers to ‘dial their personal contacts or public establishments, access useful information and carry out their personal information management’.
What does this mean exactly? By dialing *988 or *6988, SingTel customers can access stuff using simple speech commands. Speaking a name already stored in their personal address book would enable them to reach that person. They could also ‘request sports and lottery results, download ringtones, picture messages and logos, utilize location-based services to find the nearest amenities and recommended food outlets’.
The basic idea seems to be to replace navigating a touch-tone menu of options or scrolling through an address book on a cell phone. Not a bad idea, and you’re not replacing real people here but actually adding another layer of usability. (Of course Nokia and several other makes of handphone have the speech option already, where you just speak a name and the phone will dial, but that requires setting up, and I’ve seen more people get embarrassed when it dials by mistake than I have folk getting some serious use from it.)
The downsides I can think of are limited to the idea of storing all your data on a central server. But then again, the cellphone company is going to know all that stuff anyway, so who cares? The only other thing I can think of is the annoying problem of your voice not being recognised.
Which brings me to my only question, a cultural one: Is ScanSoft’s voice recognition software geared towards Singaporean-style English, or a more generic one? Or both? Watch this space.