Alternate titles: Tell a friend.
The user wants to share something of interest with a peer.
Add a link with a similar text to “Tip a friend”, “Send this to a friend”, “Share this with a friend”, that leads to a form to be filled out with the user’s data as well as a private message. The result of the form could be a mail sent out to the user’s friend with a condensed formed version of the content or simply a link to the original content.
The Tip A Friend pattern is a function that facilitates the user’s need to easily spread the word about content. It can be useful if the information of interest is formatted in a way, that makes it hard to copy-paste into an understandable mail. The website can then help format the mail by setting up the info in a nice and readable format.
The usefulness of this pattern when just letting the user send a blank mail with a link to the content in question, can be debated. The users need for this kind of functionality is often not justified.
I think, we can gladly abandon the “e-mail-this” approach for most applications, because of the spam problems and the Â¿fact? that nearly nobody ever uses it. The IM/social network this option should stay and be developed, though. Consider that the Digg this button is just the e-mail this button evolved.
I’m torn when it comes to this. I use it to share relevant info and articles with from friends but it’s only from REPUTABLE sites. I get a ton of spam as it is and I know part of it is due to my friends returning the favor with less reputable sites. Its a blessing and a curse. :-)