Monday, February 17, 2014

Dear Facebook and advertisers: We know.

I "liked" Time Warner Cable on Facebook today.  I do not in fact actually like Time Warner Cable, although to be fair I also do not dislike them.  They give me a reasonably fair service at a reasonably fair price.  I wish their internets were a little more stable but it's unclear to me whether the fault lies with them, with my router or with the fact that I've got about 200 neighbors all trying to use the same router channels so it's hard to place the blame on TWC.

So they're meh.  I don't like them they way I like a local restaurant.  I'm not rooting for their owners to succeed, I don't hope their waitresses get more tips, I wouldn't tell a friend, "Ooh, you've got to go to Time Warner Cable."

I "liked" them because they paid me to.  In this case the payment was a one-in-a-zillion chance to win a trip to Paris, which trip is apparently themed by the new Mr. Peabody movie. (warning: sound at that link)  So yeah, my threshold for placing a company on my like list, at least temporarily,  is pretty low.

The threshold is very low for a lot of people.  And everyone on Facebook knows it.  Everyone knows that if one of their friends "likes" BigCo Corporation, it's because they're having a discount or a contest or something.  There's no benefit to the company.  No one on the planet is going to sign up for Time Warner Cable or go to WalMart or put their resume on LinkdIn because their friend shows up on the sidebar as having "liked" the business. 

What the fake "likes" do do is dilute the value of "likes" to smaller businesses which might actually benefit from people knowing that their friends "like" the business.   Facebook says it wants both local and national advertisers.  They should realize that these fake "likes" reduce the value of real "likes" and require that advertisers stop requiring "likes" to enter contests, etc.   At the same time, they'd find a way for businesses, large and small, to offer special deals to people who have already liked a page.  Say, for 10 days or more.  Yerba Buena (warning, more noise at that link) and yes, even Time Warner Cable should be able to offer a special deal to people who have liked the page already but not to extend a deal to people who like the page just for the deal. 

1 comment:

  1. A quote from your post: "What the fake "likes" do do is dilute the value of "likes" to smaller businesses which might actually benefit from people knowing that their friends "like" the business." I agree, Greg, so I never, ever "like" any large corporations on Facebook. And when you say that "there's no benefit to the company," when people on Facebook like a company, I disagree, at least to a point. The "likes" get the company's name in print, and that is supposed to count for something (and probably does). But I understand what you're saying. When I see that Facebook friends have "liked" this or that, I sometimes roll my eyes a bit (because I resent having to scroll through ads on Facebook), but I don't begrudge them their one-in-a-probably-very-large-number chance of winning a vacation, or a $100.00 gift certificate.

    All of that aside, I am really enjoying your blog. :)



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