The internet is getting all fired up but this time SoundCloud is off the hook… Facebook has updated their platform policy to prohibit “like gate” apps like the “like to download” apps that has been one of if not THE most essential marketing tool for struggling artists giving away free music. For years, the app has allowed artists to translate free track downloads into a visible following that has helped those artists book shows and afford the ability to continue giving music away for free. Now, Facebook has declared the following:
- You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.
In context, the rule change really seems directed at games — an effort to curb the ridiculous volume of useless game invites flying across Facebook as users are incentivized to “invite 30 friends” in order to earn “level 12” of whatever the **** kids are playing these days. Minecraft or Angry Birds or some dumb **** like that (You don’t have N64 Smash? NFL Blitz? I feel bad for you son).
But its hard to ignore the broad language and the implications this has for other users of Facebook… since last year, they’ve been slowly tightening pages’ reach and forcing users to at least consider advertising through Facebook. It would seem that their greed is once again alienating the very thing that makes their site valuable– its user base. This move will undoubtedly be final straw for many artists who already feel like their pages aren’t getting effective reach and who aren’t willing (more like can’t afford) to pay for advertising… but will Facebook feel the hit?
I can’t help but think back to a letter I wrote to Facebook over a year ago… just after their IPO. In the letter (I was looking for a job… the music biz has a lot of ups and downs) I suggested that if Facebook continues down the path of the traditional advertising model, they’ll eventually alienate their user-base which is the source of their real value. Instead I suggested they discriminate between user types and offer a tiered subscription service for businesses while still allowing personal users all the freedom and access (reach) they’ve always had. Businesses, on the other hand, would have accounts and account managers (not unlike Google Adwords) and instead of (or in addition to) paying for ads, businesses would pay for the privilege of a Facebook page. Their subscription fee would be proportional to the number of users of like the page and businesses would be able to prune users who follow their page! My solution is beneficial for a few reasons:
- Personal users lose no functionality and get more direct interaction from pages as posts aren’t filtered… the main user-base doesn’t feel alienated or like their being exploited for profit
- Revenue from account subscriptions
- Page likes become vastly more valuable and companies’ ability to control who likes their page means they can offer more exclusive and valuable deals through Facebook (users will also take the like functionality more seriously)
- Fake likes suddenly become more expensive for companies… now who’s going to pay for those? Goodbye FB click-farms.
- The subscribing company will have a more valuable and personal relationship with Facebook leading to greater customer retention
- This can be used in conjunction with traditional advertising and can be budgeted separately from traditional web ads (because who’s going to argue regular ads or more effective than a facebook page?)
Mark… mind if I call you Zucky? Zucky… you didn’t think inside the box to get to where you are, do you really think keeping it traditional is going to take Facebook to the next level? You need to reassess what makes the company valuable and try to avoid what others are doing… especially GOOGLE. Google is going to kick your ass every ****ing time… and people still LIKE google. Ditch the ****ing messenger app, let artists and small businesses like-gate… you’re letting Walmart and Apple and Amazon and Ebay get away with a measly ad campaign while they get to have a whole page on your website devoted to them FOR FREE?
Screw you guys, we’re going back to myspace. **All the DJs and musicians of the internet slowly head towards Tom’s mansion-estate**
SoundCloud, we’re watching you. A blanket license for music uploaded to your site would be nothing short of epic heroics. Orange cloud tattoos would start popping up.
p.s. Yo Zuck, if you need me you can reach me on my twitter. @Lewdite
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