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Zuck: Open Letter to Little Facebook Brands

by Frank Strong

Facebook ads

.36 cents a click? It’s totally worth it.

Note:  Written in satire, the following is a parody presented as a guest post by Mark Zuckerberg. It is fictitious. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or Mark for that matter. But there’s certainly a point.

Dear Facebook Nation:

I built Facebook in my dorm room.  I took a chance, quit school and drove 3,000 miles to a place where I could build this company. I took the risk. And now I’m getting what I earned.

Today, we have one billion people using our service – that’s about one in four Internet users worldwide.  We have more users than many countries have citizens.  We should have a flag because they made a movie about us.

For those that don’t understand this point – Facebook is the world. If you want to reach all those people, or better still, a highly targeted segment of them, you need to bring your wallet.  Traffic costs money. It’s that simple.

Sure, you had a free ride for a while, but the volume of crappy posts, like, those stupid little memes are rampant. Nobody likes memes and high-quality media publications like Wired don’t write stories about them. Our users have liked too many things, they can’t possibly read through all this junk so it needs to be filtered out.

Besides, lots of businesses give potential customers a taste,  a free trial, a chance to test drive before buying.  That’s essentially what we’ve done, only the free trial spanned several years and was aimed at a larger market. News flash:  the largest free trial period ever is over.

So we’ve made some changes, tweaked our algorithms and established our position as the decider-in-chief of what updates fans of any particular Facebook page will see. This was done for your own good.

We know your users better than you do. We know you better than you do. We know what you like. We know your best and worst moments. And we know what you are dying to share with the world but do not. To that end, we know what you’re inclined to like with the sense of a fortune teller.

We’re better than The Hunger Games meets The Minority Report  —  with a twist of business, a couple selfies and a few degrees of Kevin Bacon — presented inside The Matrix.  No other service has this information.  Not Twitter. Not LinkedIn. Not Google.  Not Mr. Anderson.

Therefore the service has evolved.  It’s free for users but premium for brands.  Don’t like it?  Share it on your personal page or pay to promote it on a brand page. That’s the model.  If you want to influence our decision making, you’ll have to do it with your wallet.

Now some of you are whining about leaving. To that we say, good riddance. Small businesses are fickle.  Small businesses are cheap. You don’t know what you want, but we know it doesn’t involve spending money. You make noise.  The same type of noise we strive to filter out on Facebook.

 You need Facebook more than Facebook needs you.

Do you really think we’ll promote your post for $1? Ha! Not so fast cheapskate!  You need Facebook more than Facebook needs you.  That’s the cold hard fact.

Big brands on the other hand will pay – and will pay handsomely. They are, for example, still buying TV commercials to the tune of $66 billion in 2013, which is about the size of the cash kitty Google has on hand at the moment.  By contrast, Facebook took in just about $2 billion last quarter and we’ve got just $15 billion in the bank, so there’s plenty of market opportunity. We’re catering to our base.  Follow the money.

Quite simply, brands need to both buy fans and then pay us to advertise to them.

Quite simply, brands need to both buy fans and then pay us to advertise to them. It’s a beautiful thing, because we can earn residual income and charge you twice for it.  Wall Street may not like my hoodie, but it loves this idea.

There is no such thing as “earned media” or “shared media” or any other crazy term some wonky supposed social media strategist made up about Facebook. Our service is too valuable to be given away freely. This is not about connection, or advocacy, or engagement.  It’s about money.

A socially responsible business’ only obligation is to increase profits. Users that don’t like it can delete their profile or fan page anytime they’d like.  And just like the Recycle Bin on a Windows computer, we’ll keep it ready for you to restore when you decide to return.

facebook fans

The beauty of Facebook fan pages: you can buy fans and then pay to advertise to them too.

Some of you say this is the demise of Facebook, that somehow we are getting it wrong.  I have a hard time seeing that logic in our stock price.  Sure, its true teens are less engaged, but look at the U.S. population:  It’s getting older.  And those older people have invested years of time into finding friends and networking with them online.  They are not about to simply up and leave, because the changes we make don’t affect them…they affect you.

How do I know this? Because we’ve changed the privacy settings a dozen times – and despite the sound and fury – they haven’t left.  They keep coming back. They always do.  Facebook is for loyalty.

Feel free to walk away from 25% of the internet. You’ll be back.  Bring a credit card next time.

There are always claims that we’ve got some surreptitious goal in our efforts to get people to reveal more about themselves. So let’s clear that up: The more our users reveal, the more connected they become on our network and the less likely they are to leave. It’s a bonus for advertising too.

If you don’t want to pay up, then don’t.  No one is forcing you to use the service. You always have the option of starting a network of your own in your basement. If you do and you succeed, I bet in a few years you’ll come around to my line of thinking too.

In the meantime, feel free to walk away from 25% of the internet. You’ll be back.  Bring a credit card next time.

Thumbs up,
Zuck (but probably not really, Zuck)

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