Vanity publishing has come to Facebook. As a user, if your content is not interesting enough to get commented on or liked, you can now pay an estimated $7 to get your post to both appear and get artificially “bumped” up in your friends’ newsfeeds. It’s a little more expensive than paying someone on Fiverr for likes and visibility (currently $5 gets you 500 likes), or deploying one of the many ‘auto like bots’ – but it’s arguably more ethical.
The result according to Facebook is that the quality of what you have to say notswithstanding, more people will notice what you have to say.
In other words, your personal Facebook newsfeed continues its shift from the merit system of earned media to the advertising system of paid media. Facebook has been trialling the new self-advertising service using ‘promoted posts’ for users outside the US since May, but from this week will now be rolling it out in the US (for users with fewer that 5K ‘friends’).
In our view, the core value of Facebook lies in the prime digital real estate of the personal newsfeed; the big challenge facing the network is to keep the newsfeed attractive to users whilst monetising it by enhancing/polluting it with advertising content.
On the one hand, it’s all rather democratic; by turning users into advertisers, Facebook is simply giving users them the same paid-for access to other peoples newsfeeds that businesses already enjoy. On the other hand, the literal ‘money-talks’ approach means that he-who-has-the-deepest-wallets-shouts-loudest brings to mind the worst excesses of a certain event to be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
So do paid-for vanity posts make the newsfeed a more attractive proposition? Thoughts?