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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Paid Post Promotions on Facebook?



There has been a lot of talk lately about Facebook charging to promote posts.  I've heard this kind of rumour before and it's always been related to a hoax, so I decided to investigate further.  

It turns out that Facebook has, indeed, been testing this concept in New Zealand but has yet to roll it out system-wide.  

Current Facebook metrics are set up so that only about 12% of any page's fans or friends actually see their posts.  Facebook determines what you see on your news feed based upon how many "likes" or comments a post gets.  

If Facebook decides to move forward with the paid post promotion concept, Facebook users - both business and personal - will be offered the option of paying a scaled fee to promote their posts to a wider audience than the percentage provided by the current metrics setup.  The larger the fee paid, the wider the audience that will receive the post.

This new “innovation” opens the door to a whole new kind of spamming.  It will allow anyone with a personal or business page who is willing to pay a fee to post their advertising material or promotions to the top of your news feed.  If you do not wish to see these paid “highlights” you must either “un-like” or “un-friend” the page or person who has chosen to purchase them. 

At the same time, the pay per post concept penalizes honest, hardworking business people and bloggers who have invested countless hours in building an audience.  If the model moves forward, you can be assured that posts that are not promoted will reach fewer and fewer people over time, as Facebook –who now views its users as products rather than customers – limits access in order to create a need to purchase this new product.

It seems to me that Facebook has totally lost the plot lately.  They’ve always foisted unpopular “improvements” on their users but, recently, the network has been plagued with technical glitches and characterized by a steady withdrawal of services and features that they, themselves, actively promoted only a short while ago.

Google+ has been struggling to establish a user base.  It hasn't caught on because users perceive it as overly complicated.  Bloggers are also leery of the platform because it ties their Picassa albums to their membership.  If you have a blogger.com, blogspot.com or blogspot.ca blog and cancel your Google+ membership, you lose all the images you've posted on your blog.  (A good argument for backing up your blog to an external archive!) 

As unwelcoming and complicated as Google+ is, it is looking more and more attractive to Facebook users, who are growing weary of Facebook's constant changes, glitches, and greediness.  

Perhaps Facebook is striving to ensure its own demise?  It  certainly looks that way!

I am, at this point, uncertain about where I’ll go from here.  If Facebook continues to be such a pain in the neck to use, or if it further limits my audience, I’ll be leaving it behind.  Will I continue blogging and seek other avenues of promotion for my work?  I’m not sure.

I'd love to hear how you feel about all of this.  What do you think about the recent changes on Facebook?


If you would like to read more about the paid post promotion test, you may find these links informative: