Why the Social Media Revolution Is About to Get a Little Less Awesome
Facebook, as a symbol of the attention economy, had already changed dramatically. Before the IPO, the company’s value was a debate. After the IPO, its value was a stock price. One side had said all along that no company had ever achieved Facebook’s scale, reach, and mastery of an audience’s time and attention without being worth $100 billion. Another side had said that no company such an undeveloped business model could possibly be worth even half that price. We don’t know who’s right in the long term, but in the short term the pessimists are winning[…]
Some of the smartest and most creative entrepreneurs and developers of our generation are dedicated to making awesome stuff for you, and, bankrolled by deep-pocketed venture capitalists, their determining business metric was not “How will you make money from credit cards and marketing departments?” but rather: How many millions of people are you delighting with your exceptionally cheap product? It is hard to imagine an industry built on a more satisfying premise for customers.
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Tumblr is mentioned in here, too. Investors want to know, “What’s the business model?”
You guys, CHARGE US FOR THE USE OF THESE PLATFORMS. How many users to you have, Tumblr? Over 6 Million? Charge us. Charge us $1 a month even. Let’s say you lose 3 Million users as a result (I don’t think you would), you would be generating THREE MILLION DOLLARS A MONTH.
Sure, the Internet would be aflame with indignation over being charged LESS THAN THE PRICE OF A PACK OF GUM per month to use a platform (take your pick) that has transformed how they connect with the world and how they express themselves to that world. They’ll get over it.
I think there’s a real terror among the Tech Community that to charge for your work is to invite intense dislike and rejection from not only users, but from others in the Tech Industry. You’ve got to buck that.
IMO, there’s a difference between the tech community’s open atmosphere (and its willingness to share that tech) and actually building a business and making a living. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Consider it a Time-Sensitive Freemium model. “You liked and used our platform for 4 years for free; now we need to charge you a minute amount of money.”
Start charging for your sites. Please. I willing to not see anymore fucking ads and I’m willing that all these platforms suceed in a really grand way, if for nothing less but that future platform-builders know that it’s more than OK to charge for something incredible that they’ve built.
This business model has worked for centuries and it can work now in social media.