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Facebook – Now Broken for Many Users

Last year we wrote an article, Facebook, broken for business. Now, in Facebook’s drive for more revenue, it’s getting worse. Users are noting a significant drop in traffic and connections with fans and more advertising pushed in their faces.

This trend was well written up in the Ars Technica and NY Observer which stated “Many of us managing Facebook fan pages have noticed something strange over the last year: how our reach has gotten increasingly ineffective,  ……brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans…”

The free ride is finally over. Facebook will become more like a TV channel, with advertising thrust in our face at every opportunity whilst we’re trying to connect and share stories with friends. How many of our fans are seeing our content is being carefully controlled. The old Facebook free forum concept is dead and we’re in the midst of a marketing machine monitoring our every activity.  Facebook is now deciding which of our friends/fans will see our posts and which will not – Which advertisements and offers they will view…

I guess from a business perspective it’s logical that the owner of the site, Facebook, has ultimate control over how it works. Sadly, many have until now thought of their Facebook pages as their own. But in reality, you’re just tenants for the amusement of Facebook.

Google the Helpful Librarian, Facebook the Spy?

In another equally interesting NY Observer article, how the two online giants work was discussed. “Google could be likened to a librarian, whose services we enlist in exchange for the concession that what books we ask for will be tracked. Facebook, on the other hand, is like a party that all your friends attend, but in order to yourself, you must agree to have all of your interactions recorded…”

Sure, Facebook may have the ‘population’ of a large country, but many of those residents are being treated as serfs, where everyone is observed and tracked via hidden cameras. Yes, such things are now common under the guise of national or local security, but not really to assist advertisers…. But we are, at the end of the day, just a number…

Many are still quite happy to live under such a regime. Those who don’t like these changes can emigrate. If it’s just the ads that become an annoyance, then there’s always tools like Social Fixer around to help. But that doesn’t stop the data collection process that is the marketing goldmine to Facebook and its advertisers.

I guess at the end of the day this is the tradeoff people have to make. If they want a free place to promote themselves online, then a price has to be paid. Some people don’t mind the intrusions, or perhaps aren’t aware of it.

But all is not lost

the ‘free’ bits of Facebook aren’t working as well as they did..

I’m not saying we should all quit Facebook, as it’s still a great, [somewhat] free viral marketing channel for many home and small businesses. But be aware it’s becoming less effective – the ‘free’ bits aren’t working as well as they did..

However there are ways to counteract and fight back, ensuring your fan base isn’t being isolated – There’s slick Facebook Apps from North Social (and many others), that with careful planning and  execution, can give back more control, more sales leads – Let business users reconnect with lost fans, without throwing thousands of dollars into  Facebook Adverting, which for the moment, appears not to work that well compared with say Google AdWords. But that’s another article…

p.s. Even the North Social tools come close to breaking Facebooks terms of service that prohibits coupon and sweepstake style promotions, meaning Facebook could ban it at any time. Remember, it’s Facebooks website, not the users or developers, hence another good reason for businesses to have dual promotion channels being Facebook AND their own website where they have total control. It’s a handy insurance policy, given that Facebook do occasionally shut down user sites/pages without notice!

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