Facebook advisory panel: why should you get a say when the product is you?

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Years ago one of my friends who had an entrepreneurial career that had spanned both sides of the legal divide shared his wisdom on business negotiation with me:

If you walk into a meeting and you can’t work out who the chump is, the chump is you

I was reminded of that this morning when I read some of the feedback around Facebook’s UK advisory board: that the board lacked inclusiveness.

The reason for this is quite simple; outside the major advertisers on Facebook, everyone else is product. Content that advertising inventory that can be displayed against, insights that can be mined to further improve targeting.

Many of the smaller advertising clients only started using ads on Facebook because they didn’t have a choice as the platform scaled up and  news feed algorithms kicked in. They are to a certain extent unwilling customers and who really wants to hear from an unwilling customer? This revenue is incremental because of the relatively high transaction costs for Facebook vis-à-vis larger ad purchases. Giving them a voice would likely increase account servicing costs even further.

Traditional marketing disciplines are co-opetition for Facebook media spend. Whilst PRs may set up, manage Facebook pages and do advertising; they also do activities on other platforms and offline that could be ploughed into Facebook advertising instead. Why give them representation?

Social platform users tend to develop a sense of entitlement which doesn’t match their place in the food chain.

Giving a wider representation on the board would be like Bernard Matthews giving turkeys a say on the running of his business.

Facebook has managed to create a council that shows consultative behaviour, probably with an eye to future regulatory interest; whilst remaining largely unfettered to profit handsomely off data willingly provided by brands and consumers.

Only by depriving Facebook of the oxygen of data and eyeballs are the 99 per cent likely to be listened to.

More information
Facebook names UK advisory board and forgets the 99%

Earlier thoughts on Facebook:
Why Facebook is a dead man walking
Why Facebook is a dead man walking part II?
Why Facebook is a dead man walking part 2.5?
Facebook and advertising or why Facebook is a dead man walking part III?