No sooner than a week after using Google Wave did I get my first unsolicited Spam Wave.
First, there was e-mail spam. Then there was spam forum posts and spam talkbacks. And then spam Twitters.
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Well, welcome to the next generation of spam. Commercial, unsolicited Google Waves. As if using and trying to get used to Google Wave was bad enough, the PR agencies and marketing firms of the world have decided to start taking advantage of us, because we're a captive audience and if they've ever contacted us in the past via e-mail on GMail, they now have a full contact database of people to torture by Google Wave if they were able to get an invite onto the system.
I received my first Spam Wave from an unlikely source. Not a mail order Viagra or Cialis outfit, but POM Wonderful, the popular brand of pomegranate juice.
Now, to be fair, I am sure the folks at POM were just "experimenting" to see what kind of response they would get by adding a whole bunch of food bloggers to a unsolicited Wave and to see what would happen. Heck, I even dig the product. I like my antioxidants, the way the stuff mixes with vodka and the added benfit of having a nice healthy urinary tract. But if the screenshot above was any indication, their PR Wave backfired.
I get PR and marketing emails all the time, many of which are sent out I am sure via mailing list merge. But the thing about email marketing is that for the most part, it's one-way communication between the sender and the receiver. I can choose to filter it, I can act upon it if the pitch interests me, or I can throw it to /dev/null. No harm, no foul.
But Wave, by its very nature, is a collaboration mechanism. You can't opt out of a Wave. Sure, you can delete a Wave, you can Spam Flag a wave, but by the time you've been Waved, the damage is done. People who have never made acquaintance with each other do not necessarily want to be "Waved in" with other people. There's no "Blind CC" with Wave. Obviously Wave Etiquette is venturing into the world of the unknown.
Should PR firms and other commercial entities be using Wave like they use bulk email? Talk Back and Let Me Know.