If you missed it, Jason Calacanis wrote a very well put together rant on the evils of Facebook. He makes some great points and he definitely has a case.
The following is an email exchange that @bmeriwether had about that post. Sometimes these “offline” conversations start growing and my thought is, threw it up and see if others want to join in.
Wanted to get your opinion on an article I came across last night: http://calacanis.com/2010/05/12/the-big-game-zuckerberg-and-overplaying-your-hand/
Not sure if you’ve read it or not, but you’re probably familiar w/ similar sentiment out there. My biggest questions for you:
1.) Do you think this article is more the product of an opinionated guy who probably has some friends in the industry who have been screwed by Facebook (and possibly has been himself), or do you think he raises some very valid concerns?
2.) Do you think other ‘big-name’ CEOs will quickly follow suit and ‘boycott’ Facebook?
3.) What’s your take on FB Credits – especially the 30% take FB will be taking from developers? Do you think this, along with the apparent advertising requirements, could potentially hamstring developers into reconsidering their relationship with FB?
No rush, but wanted to put this in your inbox for potentially a future discussion. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
I read it too, pretty interesting stuff.
People wrote/write the same thing about IBM, Microsoft, Apple and even Google, so I don’t make much of it.
Don’t think brands are going to do anything like boycott, all their customers are there. At the end of the day, they can’t ignore that fact.
I think what Jason overlooks is that Facebook has done something amazing for brands so far and is trying to monetize “extra” stuff. You can still have your Facebook page with your tabs and apps, all completely for free. No hosting, no monthly fees, no nothing. So if Facebook wants to add new features and overcharge, personally I say more power to them. If brands don’t like it they can go somewhere else.
At least that’s my take at this moment, but before I saw your email I didn’t have that take so my opinion on this seems to change quickly :)
Thanks for the response Jeff. I think I agree with you on most of what you said.
I agree that brands aren’t going to ‘boycott’ Facebook and that FB has definitely earned the right to overcharge some. I guess I’m just interested to see how this overcharging shakes out within the development community at-large. I see the need for more balance – sharing the burden, so to speak – between the developers and those working to produce great stuff for consumers to use through FB and the consumers/brands themselves. I guess that’s what FB Credits would bring to the equation though (at least on the consumer side).
I can’t help but think about it this way though, from the brand perspective: If the value of a FB fan for the average business really is close to $3.60 per year (as Vitrue said last month) then the estimated value of FB for a brand like Starbucks is $25M annually….or over $19M annually for Coca-Cola. That’s considerable marketing equity for a brand – probably so much so that they would be willing to pay Facebook for it in some capacity (in other words, Starbucks isn’t going to NOT do Facebook because it costs them something). Obviously the question for FB has long been, ‘how do we monetize this thing’ – but if their short-term solution puts the burden almost entirely on the development community and consumers who are playing FB games, and not on the brands much at all, that’s a huge misalignment.
Shifting gears, one point that Jason raises that I agree wholeheartedly with is this:
“The Web and HTML grew into the juggernaut they are today because they’re based on open standards that everyone can buy into…. The Social Graph will only reach its potential if it is truly open”
I, personally, have my doubts that FB will keep it as open as they claim it to be.