In reading a post on Viral Garden which spoke further about Facebook’s trials with Beacon ads. I was struck by Mack’s point that the problem was that Mark Zuckerberg went from Facebook member to Facebook CEO and that his focus shifted to monetizing the product.
In my opinion there is, first, nothing wrong with monetizing a good idea. But Zuckerberg and the Facebook team went about it in the wrong way. In our terminology, Market Culture is centered on the profitable provision of superior customer value. The value of Facebook was the opportunity to opt-in to a host of cool little apps and widgets and to let your friends know about what you wanted them to know about. The Beacon ads then, in an effort to realize profit, did so at the expense of those value propositions. Beacon took away your opt-in choice and dictated what was communicated to your friends. The problem was not the monetization of FB, but that customer value was stripped for that monetization. Fortunately the company has changed their ways, but the damage is done and the blogosphere is still talking about it!
I contrast that quickly to Skype. Recently Business Week said the eBay company is facing a make or break year. They’re not making enough money. Or, in more sophisticated terms, they’re not capturing all of the value they are producing. We here at MCS are huge fans of Skype as our weekly ops meetings connect people on 3 continents for up to 2 hours. I follow their forays into hardware and mobile phones and will be curious to see what they do with the social networking opportunity in front of them. I’d even be willing to pay more for some of these services, but so far, I haven’t been asked to. 🙂