Personal Info Required, What is the Future of Weibo?

Tue 28 February 2012 11:00, Editors

Personal Info Required, What is the Future of Weibo?

Rumor said that all the Weibo accounts are required to fill in your personal information. Now it has proved to be true, and the regulation will come into force on March 16. To register as a new user on all Weibo platforms, you need to upload your ID card or passport and fill in your real name in the back end. Existing users have to register in three months, or the users can only browse, but cannot post messages.

After the news has been released, numinous of discussions for this policy.  Mainly concerns on the account security, high maintenance on the platform and freedom of speech. The explanation the government gave is to create a better environment on social media, prevent the “anonymous and irresponsible spread of rumors”. 

I do not want to talk more on its social or political impact. In this article, my focus is on the business use.  Is Weibo still valuable for marketing? Should company still consider Weibo Viral marketing?

First, let’s start from the influential users. The influential users are famous stars, authorities from all circles, officials… and all of them are verified users. To attract more fans and strengthen their influence on Weibo, the first thing they need is the identity, and tell the rest that he/she is the real person in charge of the account.  For this group, this policy does not affect at all, for they have already use the real name.

For company accounts, there is also nothing to worry about. Before setting up company accounts, you first need to provide electrical version of required licenses. In another word, companies have already registered with the real name, so this policy has nothing to do with the company accounts.

What can be affected by this policy? – Fake account!

To have more followers/fans on Weibo, many account owners make up lots of account trying to gain more influence, or post link or content everywhere just for linkbuilding or brand exposure. For this type of account, we give the name as “living dead account”. It is unclear on the effectiveness of marketing for creating those accounts, but the existence of these bothered many users. People start to doubt on each breaking news or product review, which made the marketing value lower for companies using regular ways.  Now the “living dead account” cannot be active at all, since those accounts are made-up, they cannot have real personal information.

Weibo%20fake%20account

Of course, the real name on Weibo is not the solution for rumors, and may lose many active users.  Though the total number of users may decrease (uncertain yet), the total amount should be quite big. No matter whether you favor it or hate, it does not affect the regular/normal marketing strategy according to previous analysis.  To play the game, you have to follow the rule. Weibo can still have lots to do on business account.

For those who want to launch social media campaign in China, Weibo is still an option.

*Image is from chinaz and haohaoreport


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