Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time is money, but not at Facebook

Time is on my side, my side...those are the lyrics in a song; it seems these lyrics were the sine qua non for the executives at Facebook. Said another way, Facebook seems to have rather linearly assumed that since users spent so much time, that magically that time would be distilled into money, not so easy.

A new glue, now we hear there is a micro - site called Facebook Stories, initial vignette is about memory, reconnecting to the past...

Perhaps Facebook execs, might look in their past, way, way back to the time they were little children. To those birthdays, Christmas, Hannukah's past...the new toys, we enjoyed for all of 24 hours; then asked for new ones. It's what I call the half life of the novelty - effect...others will call this something else; cool, until it's not cool; like when your parents, grandparents and little brothers, sisters, and nieces and nephews are on Facebook too, time to find a new place to hang a way Facebook has for many morphed into a utility.

Facebook also needs to be bold and upfront about their advert policy, no one appreciates ads, no matter how pre-selected they may be. A free membership version would include adverts, however a no - ad version of membership for a small annual fee - individual, family and corporate plans come to mind. Most members I'm sure (since they use, share and like Facebook every day) would be amenable to a small fee $11.95 per year, $19.95 for two, $39.95 for life. Later, tiered memberships with higher fees as new features, games, connections, premium contents are added could be rolled out. The idea that members can send or even influence "ads" to others is to many I believe, a net negative; unless those ads are very seldom and v carefully curated.

Facebook needs to admit that people use the service to share and play together satisfying certain critical human needs.

Adding up the negatives posed by the half life of the novelty, the ad turn offs, the trickle of abandoners against the initial great things about the service are formidable, but not impossible challenges.

Of course, there are plenty of myriad, and original ways to unlock the value of 900 million users, but not on the course we see charted thus far; it begins like any other business, by anticipating and providing good value, then rinse and repeat...

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