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Websites asking new users to “spread the word” by logging into their email accounts is not exactly new. Of late, it is not very uncommon to see the same thing happen with social networks. However, ‘The Mechanical Zoo’, the parent company of Aardvark – the social search engine that was recently acquired by Google has applied for a patent on the idea of viral ad campaigns via status messages.
In the application titled, “Online Word-of-Mouth Marketing of a Web Service Using Personalized Invitations via a Status Messaging Service“, the company has sought for rights on the concept whereby websites and web applications (like Farmville) that promote their service via the users’ status messages.
Here are a few screenshots of the idea that could now belong to Google.
With applications like Farmville (and the thousands of Facebook apps) and Twitpic (and other Twitter apps) making use of similar features to promote their services via status messages, do you think such an idea is patentable?