Monday, November 26, 2007

Zappos responds

Turns out I'm not the only one whose feathers have been ruffled by Facebook's advertising feature, Beacon. has created a Facebook group to protest against Beacon's invasion of privacy.   The Facebook group includes a link to MoveOn's petition to "respect privacy," which hit the 20,000 milestone yesterday.   

After I wrote my first post on the topic, a Zappos customer service rep contacted me with the email below: 

Hi Sandi,

I read your blog that was posted on Tuesday about your Zappos purchase and the data link to facebook.  I am so sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

This feature with Facebook is brand new and only works when you are logged into Facebook at the same time that you are placing an order on  We are collecting feedback from customers and may or may not continue with this feature.

There is an opt out feature to disable the data feed from to Facebook.  All you would have to do is login into your Facebook account, click on the privacy link, click the "external websites" link, and then check the "never" radio button for

Again, I apologize for any inconvenience.  As a token of goodwill, Zappos is issuing a $25.00 off coupon that you may use towards your next purchase at Zappos. Below is your coupon code.

And then the email went on to explain how to use the coupon and ended with their boilerplate, which includes their mantra: "We like to think of ourselves as a service company that happens to sell shoes."

I wonder how many of these coupons Zappos has issued lately as a result of the Beacon feature.  So far, coupon aside, my experience with Zappos has been great.  The shoes came the next day, they're exactly what I ordered and look just like they did on the site.  I was already contemplating my next purchase from them before their email arrived, and the discount coupon is a bonus. 

As with other Facebook applications, Beacon should be opt-in, rather than its current opt-out format.  On Cyber Monday, I hope my fellow online shoppers will log out of Facebook before making their next purchase.  

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Anonymous said...

The tone strikes me as a bit off:

"All you would have to do is login into your Facebook account, click on the privacy link, click the "external websites" link, and then check the "never" radio button for"

They ought to acknowledge that this opt-out is hard to find especially when you don't know where exactly to look, and that for a company so committed to customer service, as you suggest perhaps starting as out and having to opt-in would be a better approach. Is there anything in that email to you that explains what the value is to you, the buyer, of having your purchases announced by default?

Sandi K. Solow said...

Dave --

I agree with your points entirely. There isn't any WIIFM from the customer's perspective. It seems to me that since I heard from Zappos so quickly (it took them a few days to respond to my email asking permission to post their gesture) that they're monitoring response to their Beacon participation. Or they're always active blog monitors. But a $25 coupon isn't a mere gesture, it's a significant percentage of my original purchase. I'll be curious to see how long Zappos stays a part of Beacon, or if Facebook changes the opt-in/opt-out procedures.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting,

Edward Vielmetti said...

Zappos did a better job than Hotwire, who tagged my travel purchase.

See my blog notes at hotwire and facebook beacon.

(sigh, I hate it when marketing people are creepy and stupid)