Posted September 16, 2011 2:51 pm by with 5 comments

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Facebook has a terrific new idea. They’re going to offer a $50 ad credit to small business owners to help them increase sales. Isn’t that nice of them?

Of course, it does sound vaguely familiar. . . like maybe I’ve seen the same offer but with a Google Adwords logo attached? Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s current COO used to cash paychecks from Google, but I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

Speaking to USA Today, Sandberg said,

“My dream is really simple. I think every small business should … be using Facebook. We’re not going to stop until all of them are using it to grow their business.”

Not that there’s anything in it for Facebook, mind you. It’s a purely humanitarian gesture.

Sandberg goes on to discuss how far $50 can go and how Facebook makes it easy for every business to have a website and how it’s the ultimate communication tool. She also talks about how Facebook is responsible for creating 250,000 jobs. She makes Facebook sound like a non-profit organization, dedicated to the survival of the American economy. Or am I being too cynical?

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A credit is a credit and if someone can use it to bring in a new customer or two, that’s nice for everyone involved. What I object to, is the way Sandberg is making this sound like a one-way street. We all know this is business, so why not be upfront about it? We help small business owners get started and hopefully, they continue to buy ads from us in the future. Everybody wins.

My question is, what will $50 actually get you? I’m bad with numbers, especially those with a dollar sign in front of them, so I won’t even attempt a guess. Is it enough clicks to get a feel for the site? We know that categories do better on Facebook than others, so maybe this would be a good test? Or not?

What do you think? Is Facebook’s credit offer something to cheer about or just another example of two elephants battling for dominance with the little guys getting crushed under their feet? Let loose, people. Tell us how you really feel.