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Is Facebook's Project Titan Really the End of Email Marketing?

When Facebook unveiled its latest round of proposed changes to its privacy policies last week, email marketers were looking for additional clues about the site's so-called Project Titan, the details of which were leaked last month.

Few indicators were to be found in the proposed changes, but that has not stopped email marketers from continuing to fret about the industry's demise once this mysterious service is finally rolled out.

Essentially, Facebook appears to be building its own email system, codenamed Project Titan. According to various news accounts, it will be an actual mail system compliant with POP3/IMAP and SMTP. Users will have a @facebook.com address. It is also likely that Facebook will implement a strict permission-based system to keep out spam - hence the interest in the proposed privacy policy changes.

The Potential to Devastate

Given Facebook's size - at 400 million and counting - it has the potential to devastate email marketing campaigns, says Blue Sky Factory's blog.  "Deliverability will go out the window. Open rates will drop to near zero. Your email won’t even get to users, much less get read."

In short, it will be the first mass-user email platform that is whitelist-based, Blue Sky Factory said.

We are Family

Project Titan could well be a seismic shift for the industry, acknowledges Benchmark Email - or it could be the next big thing online that fizzled out.  There is also this, it continued: if you can get in, you're family.

"The positive aspects are that any brand that does manage to gain access into the social bubble finds virtually unlimited goodwill and enthusiastic response.

"Once the connection is successfully established between marketer and Facebooker, it would be tantamount to being named a part of the family."

Sit and Wait

Before marketers press even harder on their social media efforts in preparation of Project Titan's rollout, the best approach may be a sit-and-wait one, says Gather. "Even though the network has a loyal following that may flock to the new system, from what is currently known, there is no reason for the email marketing industry to start panicking.

"If the system is truly slated to support POP/IMAP, it means that it will simply be another application like Outlook or Gmail, one that users can forward to their current email client."

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