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Apr 10, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Google To Patent Online Promotions Via Status Messages

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.

Viral WOM campaign via status message

Status Message online ad campaign on Facebook

Viral WOM campaign via status message on Twitter

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?

7 Comments

  • Unbelievable really, Google is so…power hungry that they will crush the vitality of the world wide web! Their greed knows no bounds. Let’s hope that they don’t get the patent! They have broken their motto of Do no evil & continue to Do evil! I deactivated my aardvark account, even though I was an early adopter. Wish I hadn’t supported the service now.

  • The patent application was filed by Aardvark before being acquired by Google…It is just coincidental that the potential patent lies with Google now..

  • There is prior art.. Check out many sites that do this already :) US Patent office should not grant this patent at any cost.\

  • Sorry Anand just saw the date on the patent link that you had on your post, my mistake. However me thinks that this patent application would have been an enticement for Google to purchase the company apart from the fact that it was ex Google employees who started the company. I guess they brought the Google mindset with them when they started the company & applied for the patent! Google wants control & revenue sources for themselves but if they continue with their unbridled urge for power after a while there will be no more creativity left to control – just oppressed underlings doing their bidding! Not a good look! Thanks again for this post Anand & bringing it out into the open.

  • Hi Pemo,

    There are two reasons why I would like to disagree with you.

    1. Google is among the most open companies in the world, trying to move the world towards open sourced technologies – competing against the likes of Apple that have built the most narrow-minded technologies as one can get..

    2. Patented technologies are no doubt taken into account during acquisition. But, this is just a patent application which is most probably going to be rejected for prior art..So, I really don’t think Google took the application into consideration when making the acquisition.

    Besides, Google is one of the companies I adore, and I really don’t think they are as evil as you portray ;-)

  • Thanks for your positive take on this Anand & your loyalty to Google. However I think in their reach for more power they are losing the plot with their main focus SEARCH. It is degenerating somewhat, particularly on youtube. Thanks for reassurance that this patent may be rejected too. I have just written a post that was inspired by your post but also by many dissatisfactions that I have about Googleplex lately. Its a good chance to debrief @ http://www.ezebis.com/entrepreneur/absolute-power-on-the-net/2010/04/

  • Thanks Pemo. I have posted my views on your blog.

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