The Beginning of the Facebook Revenue / Experience Squeeze?
History repeats itself. A social networking site begins pure and unique, entirely focused on what users find cool. In truth, they’re building on the backs of VCs. Eventually they are pressured to grow revenue and it’s a race against time. The revenue pressure starts to squeeze the original purity of the experience that brought the crowd in the first place. And then the crowd moves on to the next great experience. Remember Tripod and GeoCities? Remember Friendster and Orkut? Remember MySpace? When will we say "Remember Facebook?".
Ok, it’s not that dire, yet. I’m a Facebook fan. But logging into my profile tonight I saw an ad like I never saw before. See that Car insurance ad?
If I start seeing more of these ads in my profile every time I log in, the profile won’t feel like ‘mine’ anymore.
Moreover, the ad is crap. Cheesy picture. And I clicked through…sure enough, cheesy company.The difference with Google ads is they are all text, so cheesiness is more hidden from the expeirence. And Google is not my personal page. Which may make advertising on social networks more difficult, for the advertiser and the longevity of the social network.
What do I like? I like how people can join brands (see the Apple brand at the bottom), and how I invited in marketplace listings on the right. And I’m ok with ads on the left (not shown) because that seems like a place for ads, not in my news feed.
Anyway, they will continue to experiment, we’ll see if we will stick around, and we all will see if history repeats itself.