After much speculation, it appears that Facebook will be launching it’s self labeled ‘gmail killer‘ as early as Monday of next week.

***UPDATE***

The domain name fb.me has recently been pointed at facebook servers.

Speculation suggests that the fb.com domain will be used for Facebook employees, leaving facebook.com open for the public!

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Facebook’s top dogs have arranged a special event to announce the launch:

With Facebook being the worlds most popular place to share content, photos and videos – this is something to watch very closely, especially for businesses who conduct B2C marketing (more on this later).

The platform has great potential considering the amount of information on user habits and preferences Facebook currently has on file. There is a possibility for a truly social inbox experience that mashes email with social feeds, images and videos. With info on 500,000,000 members at its disposal, the pressure is on to launch something that is ‘not just another webmail client’.

Possible ways Facebook could evolve the inbox:

  • ‘Ultra’ Priority Inbox – we have already seen our email sorted into priority order from Gmail – but we could see the idea evolved based on our interactions with pages and friends on Facebook
  • No Spam – Imagine the possibility of limiting your incoming email to only “friends’ or ‘friends of friends’ on Facebook. Not foolproof, but for the average user who only wants to see messages from friends and family this would be ideal.
  • Social Email – Images, videos and social streams mashed with the inbox to create a rich experience.

There are (as always) some huge concerns regarding privicy and abuse of the system, for example:

  • Spam worries? – We have learned that users may be given an @facebook.com email address. The obvious choice would be for this to match your Facebook username, for example: “joe.bloggs@facebook.com”. It would not take a genius to be able to collect a huge list of Facebook usernames and append @facebook.com to the end (a spam nightmare in the wrong hands!)
  • Lack of credibility? – would confessing your email is @facebook.com induce the same stigma as unfavorable webmail clients such as @aol.com?
  • A no-no for business? – not only due to lack of credibilty, but as facebook.com is included in plenty of corporate spam filters, would email sent from facebook.com be swallowed up by corporate filters?

The deal for marketers

With 500,000,000+ users, there are no doubt going to be a huge share of the userbase setting up an account with ‘Titan’.¬† We must remember that Facebook is a business, and one that holds a great quantity of valuable¬† data including names, ages, locations, interests, purchasing data and more. It is not inconceivable that they could offer targeted email marketing opportunities in the same vein as their ads platform.

This may mean a Facebook business page could have the opportunity to send email to a targeted list via Facebook, in a similar fashion to creating a Facebook ad.

This is unlikely to happen – but there is always the possibility. In this case, marketers would be able to access some of the most targeted data available.

What are your thoughts on ‘Project Titan’? Are you going to be a user, and would you ever switch from your current email client?

Leave me a comment below,

Jay

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