Facebook is rolling out a feature that allows individuals to pay a small fee (currently $7) to have one of their posts display more often in their friends’ feeds. Most of the user feedback I’ve seen has been negative, and can be divided into two (related) categories:
Complaint Category 1: Greedy Facebook
This complaint sounds something like this: “Facebook is already making enough money from ads, they are just greedy/desperate, probably because their IPO didn’t go well.”
Complaint Category 2: You’re Ruining It, Facebook
This complaint was nicely and succinctly stated by Josh Constine: “I worry that Promoted Posts could change the atmosphere of Facebook from one where the most beloved content gets seen most to one where the rich can dominate the news feed.”
Good, Bad, Or No Big Deal?
I think the move is possibly bad, but probably is just not a big deal. Here’s why:
- I expect very few Facebook users have the desire to pay $7 to promote a post. I’m positive it will be such a small minority of posts that get promoted, not enough to seriously impact my usage of the site.
- Facebook doesn’t need many promoted posts. According to the TechCrunch article linked above, “Facebook could nearly double its revenue per user if it could get each US user to promote just one post a year”. If I have 300 friends, that means I would see less than 1 promoted post per day.
- If I have friends who are “spamming” me with unwanted promoted posts, I can always unfriend them or hide them from my news feed.
- Facebook provides a free service, which they need to monetize. Personally, I’d prefer to see 1 or 2 promoted posts per day (from friends I choose to be connected with), than to see more ads from companies I may or may not be interested in.
- Facebook does need to be careful that they don’t turn into a site that is dominated by ads and promoted posts. (Remember those search engines that were 100% ads? Nobody likes that…)
What do you think? Are promoted posts good, bad, or no big deal?