Why are you building someone else’s Web 2.0 wealth?

There are many community based sites on the Web2.0… and many of them are private companies, not foundations. While many of them claim to have altruistic motives, sometimes the motivation of money can be much stronger than the notion of building a unique service that helps humanity.

For most users, that’s fine because they don’t really worry about such things. But if you are a webmaster and you’re busy using these websites (e.g. Facebook) to build your brand, draw traffic to your site, or sell products, I have but one question to ask:

Why are you making someone else rich when you should be tilling your own Web 2.0 fields?

This is seriously an issue. It didn’t just affect your social life, it will also impact your business development. I’ll give you three reasons:

1. It’s their field, not yours

Simply put, you are building someone else’s business by submitting content, viewing content, and developing relationships THERE. It’s not building your own brand, business or blog HERE. Facebook’s stock valuation is rising, how is yours doing?

Well, if you put all your time & effort into your Facebook profile, and neglect your own field… there’s not going to be much to harvest come summertime, is there?

Solution: Till your fields, drive traffic from the Web 2.0 to your site, put most of your effort onto your site. Avoid distractions.

2. It’s their game, not yours

Things change, something we all realize. Since the internet first came about, the only constant has been the nature & speed of change. We intrinsically know this. But even within Social Media, things change fast.

Even a simple change in TOS can effectively mean that your business is no longer possible (either outlawed by TOS or made prohibitively expensive). While these kinds of changes aren’t that common, you can just ask those users of services like YouTube, Ebay, AdSense, etc. that have had accounts closed because of changes of TOS, or been forced to close accounts because they can’t continue under the new TOS.

Where service continuity and TOS aren’t issues, you will find that algorithm changes can severely impact your social network performance. Take a look at the feed of your Facebook profile, now compare that to the most recent feed. The same? Hardly. Facebook’s algos regularly pull content from your feed that IT thinks you don’t want to see.

As a user, I find this very regretful. I followed many websites on Facebook because I wanted to stay current with their updates, such as OMGUbuntu, or Agnes b coffee shop, but I rarely see posts from either in my feed. With less viewership, there is less incentive for these websites to post anything new on their Facebook profiles.

No one expects Facebook to be primarily for brands or products, but … we do like to keep up with our favorites, don’t we? Agnes b. for example has over 120k likes… yet on one of its posts, there were 331 likes and 2 comments! I won’t tell how small the % of the interactions is… it’s ludicrously small.

Solution: Look for value on the Social Networks. Sometimes paying to play will provide the answer to your issues (because they need to earn money and discern quality feeds). Consider…

3. Pay to Play

Facebook want you to pay for that access; and you can advertise on their system. For many websites, this is a viable way to go and traffic can be quite good for a reasonable price. I would only suggest you do this to drive traffic to your site.

Obviously, Facebook wants you to drive traffic to your presence on THEIR network. You could do this, too; but I think you will find that there is little point to doing so. One of the ways of doing is to “Boost Your Post” which is activated on selected posts (again, you can’t always choose which post to boost). Check out this post from The Digital Marketer on “The $5 Solution to Your Organic Reach Problem on Facebook” on performance and read the comments. Obviously, there are as many caveats: watch your performance, track your budget, watch for algo changes.

4. Service Outages

First there was Myspace and Friendster. Who uses those nowadays? Now we have Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn. But how long those will be here? Already many apps are forging communities based solely around the phone; it’s already the next big social network.

Now look at the gyrations that happened to Myspace over the years, and consider what happened to Geocities and Friendster? Neither of these sites is now operational. Yahoo! closed Geocities down recently, too.

And Yahoo has a habit of purging sites, services and companies that they do not feel have a future. So, although I use Flickr, I don’t depend on Flickr being available for ever. But I wonder how many people upload their photos to Flickr as their only copy! Stupid, yes. Do people do it? Yes.

But this threat can cut into your business, even when the site doesn’t disappear.  Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube are all evolving media and while at least one of the three is supported by big pockets, you can bet bottom dollar that ALL of these services will depend on being successful on their monetization models.

However, even success there doesn’t guarantee that the business won’t be closed down, limited, restricted, or made premium, by current or new owners at some point in the future.

So, if you value something, always have at least two copies of something: one on your PC, and one on a preserved copy. Just in case you have to deal with a closure.

Now, have I convinced you to start planting your own fields? I hope so. Have you started yet?

Thanksgiving, Themes, and Thoughts: Friday Round Up

Hah! Back for Thanksgiving Friday! Sorry to say I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving… In Taiwan, it’s not a holiday, and in the UK Thanksgiving is much earlier!

Google BUYS Content – hardly!

Google comes under the microscope in an article in BusinessWeek. Unfortunately, the writer doesn’t seem to understand the difference between AdWords and AdSense. Anyway, here’s my comment on the story, just in case BW doesn’t publish it.

It seems your author doesn’t understand that Adsense and Adwords are two sides of the SAME coin… Adwords are purchased by advertisers on (amongst other avenues) publishers’ websites (who use Adsense). Unfortunately, with ctr rates dropping with recent changes, and increasing dissatisfaction over being NOT paid for impressions, etc.. Many smaller publishers and blog owners are removing Adsense altogether. It’s likely to be a trend that continues, too. Esp. as Google is now behaving more like a Gorilla towards those smaller publishers and bloggers who try to find alternative ways to finance their bloggings. heck, most bloggers would starve if they had to rely on Adsense earnings….

Does your blog have a TOS?

Many blogs just don’t. Mine doesn’t. But I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that I should… I think the TOS should include Privacy issues, IP issues, Commenting Policy, Copyright Issues, … and what else? What else would you include? Comment some ideas for me. I do have a Disclosure Policy, but that may no longer be enough… Here’s WordPress.com’s TOS.

Advertising: Where can you see InvestorBlogger dot Com?

InvestorBlogger’s advertising budget hasn’t been particularly great. In fact, in the last three months, I’ve spent the grand total of $85.00 on advertising on Michael Kwan’s site, on CashQuests, and now on JohnCow’s site.

These sites are all excellent for different reasons: Michael Kwan’s review was really pointed and detailed, and helped my simplify the design (I admit the current theme looks ugly!), but I’m still looking for a theme that I can make UNIQUE; CashQuests has generated 50 visits for my site from the link there, that’s 30c per view, though the bounce rate has been quite high; and now, I’m trying out John Cow’s website by having a link there (it’s more expensive than CashQuests, but we’ll see…).

I am reluctant to try for AdWords with this site, simply because there’s already quite a lot of competition. I think my money would be better spent on other advertising routes.

A New Theme…

After the theme emergency last month, when MistyLook simply stopped working, and upgrade didn’t work either, I had to hastily adopt this rather plain looking theme. I’ve been looking at Magazine/Newspaper type themes recently, as this is how my blog seems to be going… Over the weekend, I’ll be trying a theme a day… Let me know in the comments if you like the theme or not. Here are a couple of interest from JustinTadlock who is teaching in Korea at the moment…

Happy Holiday, and remember to give thanks for all the good things you have, and once you start to list them, you’ll find that there is a lot!

Financial Blogs

I’ve been roaming the internet, and discovered that a lot of people are currently using the Internet to help them cure their financial woes, find encouragement and solace, and help plan their financial lives. It’s a really interesting phenomenon that people who would never even tell their best friend how much they make, are now splurging on the Internet the real situation.

I do believe that this will be very empowering. Too often, we are not “permitted” by others to discuss our pay packages, our benefits, (even Google has a stupid clause that precludes discussion of their adsense TOS), our financial situation, our personal financial mistakes, our successes, and whatnot.

I think that the way things are is very unhealthy. We should, have to, be able to discuss these as freely as some people seem to enjoy discussing their sex lives. It will help shift the clouds that surround financial wisdom, dispel the ignorance endorsed by our financial institutions (think credit cards, mortgages, etc..) and engender people to take responsibility for their own finances and the decisions that they make.

We are all responsible for our own financial situation, no matter how good or bad it is. We are all victims of our own choices in these matters.

We all need to realize that we can take back this power, this right, this obligation, whenever we need to.