Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Facebook, Tesco and music platforms

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

We all know why Facebook has such astronomical valuations. It is already as ubiquitous as Tesco. It is a place a billion people go to: whereas they only ever leave Google search, to go somewhere else. But people hanging around, poking, throwing cows, ignoring the adverts and goofing around doesn’t pay the rent. To increase revenue, Facebook needs to sell more stuff: products and services.

A Facebook music “dashboard” has long been rumoured: it would be a way of tying together disparate offerings such as eavesdropping on what friends are playing, streaming music yourself, or buying songs, ticketing or merchandise. A music dashboard is a subtle and relatively unobtrusive way of turning Facebook into a grown-up retail and services platform; an approach which borrows from the classic (Porter) Tesco philosophy of taking a tiny margin from a large volume of transactions.
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Facebook: Privatising the internet, one Poke at a time

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

The world has been pretty slow to wake up to the power of Facebook and Google, web services with the power to make internet standards disappear faster than a Poke. But maybe people will sit up now. Mark Zuckerberg’s embrace and extend attitude doesn’t just encompass your data – but email protocols too. And there’s very little you’re going to be able to do about it.

At a typically oversold launch event yesterday, Zuckerberg complained about the “friction” generated by having to compose a simple email. You had to type a subject line in, he said, incorrectly, making people wonder if he’d ever used email himself. It’s too formal, he concluded. The poor love – I’m surprised he hasn’t thought about suing the developers of POP3 for emotional distress, as well as repetitive strain injury.

The Facebook plan is to integrate email and SMS into Facebook, into one great big inbox, which will be stored forever. And which will naturally drown people who are not on Facebook under a tide of real-time chaff – Web2.0rhea, as we call it here.
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I'm in privacy trouble … bitch

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Three weeks ago, Facebook unveiled a three prong strategy to monetize its active base of 50m users. (See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/09/facebook_analysis/.) It hasn’t taken long for one those prongs to go prang.

Facebook’s privacy-busting referral scheme called Beacon is to be modified. If you buy something elsewhere on the web, this information is piped back into your Facebook profile, so your social network can see what you’ve just bought.

Facebook already offered something similar, but with an opt-in model. This opted everyone in by default. People don’t mind telling friends they’ve gone to see Led Zepp – they don’t necessarily want them to see they’ve just bought a blow-up doll.

Who would have guessed?

It’s damaged Facebook and participating advertisers far more than anyone has realized. Facebook’s notoriously weaselly approach to privacy was well in evident, even as it begun to roll out the “fix”.

“Facebook already has made changes to ensure that no information is shared unless a user receives notifications … ” the company explained. Note, not “permissions”, but “notifications”.

In the reader comments, Darren Coleman asks,

“I can’t really see how Facebook can make any money outside of the traditional model of invasive banner ads and Adwords. As sites go it’s a victim of its own success – you can’t monetise the userbase because they’d sooner just jump ship to the next Web 2.0 darling, and if you’re seen to be doing anything that could be construed as towing the corporate line (e.g. ads, tracking, etc) then suddenly you’re no longer the plucky young upstart website – you’re the corporate mouthpiece bought and paid for by the kind of people that talk earnestly about monetisation, incentivising, growing brands, etc. Urgh.”

“It’s the ultimate self-defeating paradigm.”

Good point – is that it, then? Well, not quite, because there are three ways of making money here, and Facebook is trying them all.

Mark “I’m the CEO … bitch” Zuckenberg called the referral program the “holy grail” of advertising when he announced it, and it remains a pipe dream.

The other two programs are safer bets: giving advertisers even more slightly accurate demographic information is sure to be welcomed: advertisers currently get nothing at all.

And getting a cut of transactions through Facebook remains an obvious strategy. As I pointed out at the time, however, this may be smaller than many people suppose. A store that shares the transaction revenue with Facebook is only going to be prepared to do so as long as it considers Facebook a part of that transaction. Is Amazon going to be prepared to pay every referrer for a transaction? You can bet not.

Facebook’s Beacon experience simply demonstrates that it’s been too clever by half: thinking it can do “permission marketing” without your permission.

And the company’s impatience and greed also explain why it faces a long drawn out battle with regulators in Europe. Like a Roach Motel, you can join Facebook – but you’ll never leave.

I'm a walking billboard… bitch

Friday, November 9th, 2007

On Wednesday, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg boasted that the “next 100 years” of advertising began here.

On the face of it, it looked like Web 2.0 had found its “Long Boom” moment. Facebook has yet to turn a profit, so Zuckerberg hardly seems in a position to advise other people how to make money – let alone place himself in a pantheon of historic business greats. In Web 2.0-land, merely “being there” is a substitute for having “made it”.

But then Zuckerberg is no stranger to bluster. This, notoriously, was the 22 year-old who had “I’m CEO…bitch” on his business card.

Behind the calculated bluster were a collection of ideas perhaps equally designed to distract the attention (no pun intended).

Of the three ideas Zuckerberg outlined, one in particular provoked horror and ridicule. It was to turn Facebook users, accustomed to its clean and spare UI, into human billboards. Advertisers could build presences in Facebook – at the moment, you must be a person – giving users the opportunity to “affiliate” with them.

“Users can become a fan of a business and can share information about that business with their friends and act as a trusted referral,” is how the company described it.

“What do the users get in return?” asked the IT commentator Nick Carr. “An animated Sprite Sips character to interact with.”

But Nick is forgetting that this cuts both ways – it isn’t a static picture at all.
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