Is Facebook Shooting itself in the Foot?
I'm gobsmacked by what greeted me this morning on Facebook when I tried to send a message to a new "Facebook Friend"...
I'd connected with someone on Twitter yesterday who is doing similar things, and runs similar Facebook page to one of mine, so I sent a friend request this morning.
I always send a quick "Hello" message with it, so that people know why I want to connect with them, so they know I'm not just randomly adding people (which I don't do).
Facebook then kindly gave me two options; either I had my message sent into their "other" mail box (which most people don't even know exists, let alone check) or, I could pay £0.71 for the privilege of having it sent directly into their inbox!
It's now more expensive to send a Facebook message than sending an old fashioned letter via snail mail!
This reeks of desperation to me, and I'm really not sure Facebook will survive these tactics. It seems their approach is "We've got a captive audience now, we can do whatever we want". I'm not as confident as they are that this is a winning strategy...
This is yet another reason why I'll be spending even more time building a network using Google+.
While most of Facebook's "customers" probably won't leave, or search for a different platform to connect on, the innovators, the early adopters WILL.
And it's the early adopters, the leaders who influence where other people go.
I've been saying for about a year now that I see Facebook becoming the next MySpace, (A thriving social media platform that died) and I haven't yet seen them doing anything about it.
They don't seem to be respecting their customers, and I really doubt that is an effective long term strategy. Especially as people like to buy from people that they know, like, trust
and respect. Businesses that don't make their customers feel good about doing business with them, usually have retention problems, and that's costly.
Right now Facebook may have a captive audience, but how much can they get away with before the avalanche? How long will it be before people leave by their droves, looking for platforms that do respect them, their information and aren't trying to take their money for basic functions?
I can think of many much more effective monetisation strategies, but it seems that Facebook is dancing to the tune of big brand marketers, who are using old style marketing strategies. And those old style strategies are the reason why social media used to be so effective, because social media is so very different.
These days, because of all the manipulative, less than straight activities of businesses using social media it's lost its "trust" factor. And I see Facebook as a platform losing more trust
than any other.
What do you think? Is charging more than a price of a stamp & envelope to send an email a strategy which is going to benefit Facebook in the long term?
Is the revenue they generate from these types of things going to outweigh the negativity it creates with their existing customers?
Payment for messaging people who are not yet Facebook friends is something that Facebook are testing, and has not yet rolled out to all Facebook users. Costs are up to £15, and varies according to the person's "celebrity" status.