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Facebook’s REAL Customers

I’m often asked why Facebook is so gosh dern buggy.  And yes, friends, people still use the phrase “Gosh Dern”.  I then ask them, have you ever noticed Facebook seems to have no such Technical Support, and they have barely any semblance of Customer Service? That essentially they slap together something, force it upon you and expect you to like it? Well, that is because that’s the way it works.  You have this “forum” with which you can reconnect with those you know, meet people with similar interests, and in exchange, Facebook attaches a collar around our necks and feeds us Ads.

“I’m no pet!”, you declare.  “I’m free from advertising!”, you say.  Spend a month using Facebook actively, and then see how you feel about it.  After about a month, I’ll bet you’ll be on Facebook about two to four times a day, minimum.  I estimate it takes approximately a month to get hooked and use Facebook regularly.  No formal studies…merely observation, adoption, seeing the market numbers and Facebook’s own claims of how many “users” it supposedly has these days.

It’s great fun, to be sure.  It’s a neat way to connect with people you thought you’d never see again.  But in the end Facebook views you as sponges for Advertisements.

You are indeed a consumer, but you are not Facebook’s customer.  Facebook’s customer is the Advertiser.  Notice how every form of banner Ad on Facebook revolves around advertising? Nothing about how to improve your Facebook experience, nothing on how to make using Facebook more efficient and relevant to your daily life.  Notice further how if you try and close an ad, their first reaction is not to let you go about your merry way, but rather, they then ask you for feedback.  “Why didn’t you like this ad? Was it Offensive? Was it Uninteresting?”  They’re PROBING your mind, they’re data mining you, trying to see what makes you tick, what you like and don’t like, what makes you click on an Ad.  Is it the graphic that is displayed? Is an ad more effective as a static image vs. an animated image? If it were a looped video would it capture your attention?

Advertising is king with Facebook.  Or so Facebook hopes.  Facebook caters to the Advertiser, and advertises to the Advertiser.  The more money Facebook can look as being beneficial or useful to the advertiser, the better.  Much like GoogleAds.   Advertise, advertise, advertise.  If you have a vast network of willing sponges just wanting to soak in all the information they advertise, that is a money making opportunity for Facebook.

Sometimes blatant, sometimes sneaky, they expose more and more of who you are to advertisers, taking every chance they can to break down your privacy settings/options, and “open you up” to the world.  It’s debatable whether less privacy is truly beneficial in the long run.  I’m of the camp that believes if you don’t maintain some semblance or level of privacy you risk putting yourself and others in danger.  You see computer companies and networks experiencing security breaches all the time.  Makes you wonder if Facebook is just trying to get us all to get used to losing our security, our privacy so if Facebook gets hacked, and all your semi-private information becomes private it won’t come as big a shock to you?

Last report (wish I could find the darn thing) I saw indicates only a very small fraction, perhaps 10% of all Ads actually results in a customer clicking on the Ad.  Most Ads are ignored or left un-clicked, or if it’s clicked on, it doesn’t lead to the consumer purchasing the product advertised.  This will likely change over time, as Facebook tweaks their advertising model.  Of course, Facebook doesn’t want its customers, the Advertisers to pay any attention to such statistics.  After all, they want, rather they need, their business!  That’s what Facebook relies on to stay in business:  Advertising combined with likely a “percentage cut” of the profits that Facebook games that sell virtual products for real money).  This allows Facebook to continue this “free to use” business model for the Consumer (us).

I personally enjoy using Facebook, despite Facebook’s view that we’re all simply Advertisment Sponges.  Use it at your own peril, and understand you are giving up certain levels of privacy when using ANY type of Social Networking.

Well played, Mr. Zuckerberg, well played.

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