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Facebook Ads: Real Problems, B.S. Outrage

Facebook's free ad ride is nearly over, sure, but ... that's business. Unless you thought FB was really your friend.


Remember Facebook (FB), friend of free business, ally of the startup, the link between proprietor and customer?

That Facebook is long gone. What once was a childhood friend has turned into a lousy mooch, leveraging its old connections to increasingly suck up lunch money on the schoolyard.

“A bit dramatic,” you say?

Of course it is. Facebook is just conducting business. Slimy tactic, sure — using a drug dealer talent of free product to get companies addicted. But still, Facebook asking businesses to pay for ads is about as 100% Grade-A American free market as you could want.

Restaurant delivery service Eat24 doesn’t see it that way, though.

Eat24 called it quitsies with Facebook yesterday via a “breakup letter” (their words, not mine), and … man, with references to sayings like “It’s not you, it’s us,” it really pulls at the heartstrings of an 18-year-old Kyle that heard the same thing from his high school flame.

You can read the full letter here, but to give you an idea of the level of shunned-lover vitriol…

“When we first met, you made us feel special. We’d tell you a super funny joke about Sriracha and you’d tell all our friends and then everyone would laugh together. But now? Now you want us to give you money if we want to talk to our friends. Now when we show you a photo of a taco wrapped with bacon, you’re all like “PROMOTE THIS POST! GET MORE FRIENDS!” instead of just liking us for who we are. That’s hella messed up.”

But the bigger picture issue is that we can’t trust you. You lied to us and said you were a social network but you’re totally not a social network. At least not anymore. When we log in to Facebook, we want to see what Aunt Judy is doing next weekend (hopefully baking us cupcakes) and read hilarious headlines from The Onion and see pictures of a cat who got his head stuck in the couch cushions.”


It makes us think all you care about is money.”

I know corporate personhood is a real and recognized thing, but … jeez, really?

Eat24 is dead-on about a few things, not the least of which is that Facebook’s identity went from something of a bond-creating social network to a greedy corporate entity. That was an expected end result of going public, and for users, that change has come with a heaping helping of suckitude. (We hate ads too.)

And yes, Facebook only cares about money. To his credit, Mark Zuckerberg — nodding to his charitable giving, immigration reform activism and efforts to bring Internet to the world — seems to care about more than money. But Facebook Inc., stock ticker FB on the Nasdaq, absofreakin’lutely cares about the almighty dollar.

That’s Wall Street for ya.

Moreover, Eat24 is far from alone in being pissed. Forrester’s Nate Elliott wrote that Facebook’s pinching of organic reach — which FB is trying to pare down to a mere 1% to 2% of a company’s followers — has made brands “disillusioned with Facebook.”

All legitimate gripes, and to an extent, a possible worry for FB. (Though given how attractive Facebook’s vast user data is, plenty of companies have and probably will stick around and pay up.)

But we could do without the Disney Channel tween angst letter that’s obnoxiously humorous at best, and disingenuous at best.

A business shouldn’t be irreparably set back because it couldn’t “see what Aunt Judy is doing next weekend” — BREAKING: she’s not making you cupcakes — or read hilarious headlines from The Onion.

And a business certainly shouldn’t be crippled because it could no longer share “sushi porn” with its followers.

“Now you want us to give you money if we want to talk to our friends”? Hardly. Facebook wants you to pony up to advertise to your customers — 70,000-plus, at last count.

If you think I’m off base, head over to your local newspaper and demand they allow you to “communicate with your friends” (via print space) for free. Talk to the highway billboard company about a gratis arrangement by which you might provide for the world “provocatively posed burritos and cheese puns.”

See how quickly you’re a.) laughed out of the room or b.) Tasered.

Facebook twisted reality for a couple short, beautiful years, and that’s gone now. It sucks, but them’s the breaks.

Your customers would be better served if you followed Facebook’s example and got back to business, and quit lamenting about the social media service that got away.

Kyle Woodley is the Deputy Managing Editor of As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleWoodley.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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