Facebook, often compared in user size to a country, would be considered a monarchy, dictatorship or at best an oligarchy. How long are American small businesses safe to operate free of potentially huge taxes (i.e. fees) or other business killing regulations?
As a marketing consultant, business owner and entrepreneur I have a growing concern over the future of small business on Facebook. This is outside any “big brother” privacy issues, possible identity theft and public gossip/slander the general user population concern themselves.
If the above issues ever get out of hand the user population will divest themselves of Facebook and move on to whatever platform better serves their needs (see MySpace).
So Facebook has a strong incentive to keep these issues under control.
My concern is with the countless hours and dollars that small businesses are investing in a marketing platform that offers absolutely no security for small business owners.
With the way Facebook’s rules and customer service are handled, small businesses that are investing heavily in organic Business Page growth are doing so with no guarantee of any long term return on their investment.
If you want customer service from Facebook you have to be spending upwards of $10,000 monthly.
If not, you are relegated to sending countless support emails with no guarantee of getting an answer – let alone a solution.
Would this happen in the real world?
A popular analogy is that if Facebook were a country it would be the fourth most populous country.
Imagine for a moment that a popular tourist destination opened up with a countless stream of people ready to frequent any business that sets up shop.
- Start up costs are zero so businesses large and small flock there to cash in on the foot traffic
- It is located in a country that happens to be a monarchy
- The country collects an immense database of people’s personal information and buying habits
Currently the Monarch only entertains the concerns of business that give it a significant amount of money.
As a small business owner how long do you feel comfortable that the monarch will not take from you and distribute to those who are paying?
Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s
I’ve often proclaimed due to frustration or just when discussing Facebook with others that I would warmly welcome a fee for Business Pages similar to website hosting fees.
Unlike website hosting company Go Daddy which goes out of it’s way to cater to small business customers, Facebook seems to hold it’s small business accounts (they are by no means ever referred to as customers) as a necessary evil that is tolerated and provided some services to in an effort to keep the platform growing.
How long before Facebook changes the rules enough to cause abandonment by small business allowing Facebook to give these fans to the highest corporate bidder?