Have you ever promoted a website via a tweet or a Facebook status update? If Aardvark’s latest patent application for “Online Word-of-Mouth Marketing of a Web Service Using Personalized Invitations via a Status Messaging Service” is granted, you may soon be prevented from building such promotional features into your own website.
The abstract of the patent describes the service as follows:
A status messaging service is used as an online channel for indirect messaging in a word-of-mouth marketing campaign. A user of a web service is prompted to endorse the web service to the user’s friends or other connections by submitting a status message to one or more status messaging services to which the user belongs. The status message contains an endorsement of the web service and may further contain a link to a personal invitation page for the web service. By submitting the status message to a status messaging service, the endorsement contained therein is then communicated to the user’s connections in the status messaging service.
While you can still promote your own site via status updates, this new patent attempts to block other applications from creating word of mouth marketing through status updates from within the apps. The crazy thing is that there’s no way Aardvark could say that they were the first to do this, however that isn’t preventing them from filing the patent.
While I hope that this patent would be rejected, the mere presence of this would make me concerned as an app developer. You can view the full patent here as first pointed out by GoRumors. Would you be concerned about this patent being granted? Do you think Aardvark has any chance of this going through?