My advice to Facebook
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My friend Noah Kagan is a product manager at Facebook. He just coordinated the rollout of a new Valentine’s promotion, which I thought was pretty cool.
But I also had some suggestions for him, which echo my suggestions of not getting greedy and trying to monetize things too quickly (see On Greed and Speed).
Now, The Facebook has already built an incredible community, so they can monetize all they want. But there are times where going slower will, I think, actually be more profitable. Here’s what I emailed to Noah:
I was thinking about your Valentines promotion today.
This is a good example of something that can be turned into a viral-marketing effort, or slowed down by barriers. First of all, I really like the idea. But my guess is that adoption will be relatively low (by percentage) because…
1. It costs money
2. A lot of money
3. And because it costs money, the most any user will send is 1
Here’s what I would do for the next promotion of this kind: Make it free, but offer value-added services. For example, if I did the Valentines thing, I would:
* Let people send 5 free Valentines, and charge $ per Valentine after that
* Make paid Valentines stand out more (e.g., offer to include a picture or video, change the color, etc)
* Add a permission piece to it, by adding a checkbox saying “Join the BlahBlah group” or “Get notified about a special BlahBlah we’re doing in March.”
As a result, you’d get probably 100x the Valentines sent. Yes, you’d get lower immediate revenue and have some logistical problems (with 50,000 Valentines at Stanford, would any of them be seen?) but those can be worked around by targeting them and some other clever ways.
But the upside is that (1) immediate traffic would go up, making it ripe to tie that day in with your ad team, and (2) if you tied the checkbox offer to an upcoming promotion, you would more than make up for it by building a huge, opt-in permission asset.
Anyway, just a thought.
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