We are building an "connect with your friends" part of our app and I am curious about a good way of doing this. My first thought is do like everyone else, so I looked at Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Basecamp etc. and saw how they worked. They have something like:
"put the email of the person you want to send and we'll do the rest."
"hey, just give us the credentials of your favorite email account and we'll send it out for you!"
"Just extract your contacts and upload them here...just follow one of these 12 different instructions depending and what email app you use. Once imported, we'll do the rest.
How hard is it to send an email? Why do these companies insist of sending this for you?
I have seen others that (can't seem to find them at the moment) just give you and invite url associated to your account and leave it up to you to facilitate the communication. Something like:
"Wanna invite others to connect with you? Send them this link - http://yep.com/invites/arifn123"
With the invite url:
- You can use your own email system. It already has their contact list so you get the intelli-sense (saves typing). Also you don't have to worry about spam filters as much. Also the message seems to be much more personable because it is coming from the actual users email address.
- You can be much more flexible in how you communicate the invitation. Post it to facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc. Include it in blog post. Put it on a shirt or a sticker. The flexibility is limitless.
So while the big social guys seem to want to take care of the communication for you, I am thinking the flexibility and simpleness of just giving each user an invite link is a better experience.
Why is this pattern not used anymore? What are the downsides of an invite url that I am not seeing?