Twitter co-founder Biz Stone (I want to change my name to Brilliant Boris) wrote a blog post where he suggested that Facebook would do well to offer a premium, ad-free service.
For $10 a month, people who really love Facebook (and can afford it), could see no ads. Maybe some special features too. If 10% percent of Facebook signed up, that’s $1B a month in revenue. Not too shabby.
Stone isn’t the first to makes such a suggestion but the fact that he’s the Twitter guy giving Facebook advice is both funny and relevant. If it is such a good suggestion, then why doesn’t Twitter offer an ad-free experience? Why? Because no one would buy it, that’s why.
Ads on Twitter aren’t at all disruptive. On Facebook, they take up real estate that could be better served by expanding the update widths, so I guess that’s a plus. Blocking ads of Facebook mobile would be a bigger plus – again, because of the tight spaces.
I wouldn’t pay for such a service but maybe there are folks who would. I know there are people who would pay to keep Facebook from messing around with the newsfeed. It might be worth $10 a month to see everything I signed up for in the order it arrived. There’s a concept.
In his post, Stone has a throw-away line which I believe goes to the core of the problem.
In general, the ads on Facebook don’t seem particularly useful or engaging.
Instead of asking people to pay to make ads go away? Why not make ads so engaging that people don’t want them to go away. Seriously, I feel like Facebook has a rule forbidding ads with personality and pizazz. Right now, I see a weight loss ad with a photo of a disgusting egg yolk and a mugshot of a woman promoting an arrest look-up service. Being totally honest here, I can understand why a weight loss ad is showing up on my Facebook but why do they think I’m interested in arrest records? Because I watch crime dramas on TV?
Forget paying for an ad-free Facebook. Just deliver ads that are relevant and we’ll all be happier with the experience.
What would you pay to have Facebook your way?