Imagine for a moment that you frequent the same restaurant every day, and every day you bring a new person with you to the restaurant. Before you know it, you’ve got a large section of that restaurant filled with customers, chatting it up, ordering drinks, food and leaving generous tips. Then one day you show up to order dinner and there’s a sign on the door that says “Sorry, you are not allowed in anymore. If you have a problem with that, email us.”
Tonight I was banned from Facebook.
I’m kind of taking it all in stride – I’m not sure why their admins decided to throw me off but I can’t help but wonder who is in charge of analytics at Facebook.
Look, I totally get their agenda. Facebook is not a charity. Facebook is and always will be a business. It’s a business first, a social network second. It’s why the Whopper campaign got killed (Though I wonder would they have pulled it had they run it as a Facebook ad?), it’s why they pulled out of endorsing developers via Facebook applications.
I’ve learned a lot from them. My relationship with Facebook goes back 5 years when they were “the other network” and MySpace hogged the spotlight, yet we still encouraged our automotive client to give them a shot given their tight focus on college students.
We watched as they began to scale and chip away at MySpace’s market share. Last year I had them come up to a meeting with Disney where they proudly announced they’re the #1 photo hosting site on the web.
Facebook had reached critical mass.
So you’d think given their lineage, they’d learn as they scaled to keep track of the very things third party companies such as Radian6 do on a daily basis – determine influencers online, understand the role of a member to those within their network.
This obviously isn’t the case. In fact I think they’re completely clueless.
Analytics are key to the success of any online community. Much like brick and mortar businesses, understanding who your best customers are will guarantee their loyalty. Well I would say I’m one of Facebook’s best customers, and not receiving an email explaining why my account was disabled really pisses me off because someone had to have disabled it in the first place. Does it hurt to look into my account, realize the frequency of which I post? Check the velocity of which people have added me to their own networks?
I would say that I deliver more value to Facebook than they do to me. Think about it. All of the extra page views I create for them, the free content I upload, etc.
Now here I am armed with a keyboard and an internet connection. Much more powerful than pen and sword and I can swear to you, they’re going to feel some pain on this one.
So Facebook, if you’re listening (doubtful), I want the following:
- Full membership rights restored.
- A written letter of apology from your head of Communications.
- An explaination sent to my 700 closest friends as to why they couldn’t send me a happy birthday note via your social network because you disabled my account without reason.
Oh and by the way. This morning, my colleague was spammed via Facebook IM as a hacker took control of his friend’s account and decided to solicit him for money. I’m sure the last thing Facebook wants is the real story coming out as to how hack attacks are driving their members away…
All of this drama makes me restless. Hipstr will be up by SXSW, I promise you that. It may be alpha but it will be up, and when it’s up, I plan on focusing building my relationships with people I enjoy spending time with online without any concern that big brother will pull my account without reason.