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.

  • Gary Overton

    I used one of these credits from a hosting company I use. Correct that. I thought I was using one of the credits but I am being billed the regular amount so I don’t guess I am. Cannot figure out a way to get it to work.

  • eri

    Facebook and Google+ are all about advertising-that’s what gets them the big bucks and allows you to use their services “free” of charge. In exchange for your personal information, you have the luxury of using their site. The user is the “product” being tracked and sold. In regards to the business profiles, ONLYMEWORLD actually has a beter formatted “e-business card” type profile which is easier to navigate and view than the facebook business pages that you can “like”–not only that but their focus is on USER PRIVACY. They do not require a real name or e-mail address to access the site and the you can get the money for the ads placed on YOUR personal page. I’m definately a fan of this new up and coming site.

  • Adam Kreitman

    I think it’s a great idea for Facebook. Their advertising program offers some intriguing benefits for small businesses…especially those that have a well-defined demographic they’re trying to reach.

    Many small business owners, however, either aren’t aware of the paid advertising program on FB or have a bad impression of it. This offer is a nice way for FB to get the word out and get small biz owners to take another look.

    $50 is $50 and it should be able to buy a business 50-100 clicks (assuming they don’t take FB’s suggested bids which are much higher than you should be paying). That’s not quite enough to get a lot of data, but it’s a good start and better than having to pay for it yourself. I’m definitely going to take FB up on their offer and advise some clients to do the same.

  • Ryan

    It is just two elephants battling it out for business. This in now way means that this is something that is for small businesses. Competition is what keeps costs low, and I am glad to see that these two are now having to fight over customers. This will only mean that pricing will be competitive, and that it will force each of the companies to come up with new and better way to improve their services. I will say that I believe that each avenue is great for any business if they are looking to get their business into online advertising. Just make sure that you take the time to do your research, or seek out a professional, because in the long run it can be costly and non effective if you are not doing it correctly.

  • http:/ Keith

    You can easily spend $100 dollars trying to figure out Facebook’s ad platform, especially if you’re a PPC novice. So I’m sure they’ll get their money back.