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Good riddance! What he and others are complaining about is that Facebook has started to use pricing to stop them from spamming users. This is a good thing!

We're free-marketeers, right? Prices allow scarce resources (eyeballs, users are the product, remember?) to be rationed in an efficient manner. Would he prefer some nameless, faceless bureaucracy determine who gets to see his messages?

This is a commons problem on some level. Very similar to the issue with push notifications written about elsewhere. Too many companies used Facebook as a way to get around email spam filters, and now everyone (good actors included) is suffering.

Cry me a river.




If you are constantly getting spammed by a fan page that you explicitly liked or followed, then the appropriate answer is to unlike or unfollow it. There's no reason to curate information that you wanted to get to begin with.

What if Twitter implemented something like this where certain tweets from a person you are following do not appear? How would that feel?

This strikes me totally as a money play and not for the user.

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> There's no reason to curate information that you wanted to get to begin with.

But are you sure users actually wanted that information? I strongly believe this assumption is false.

If I "like" something, I want to express that I like it. I want my friends to know it. It's not a "subscribe" button, it's a "like" button, and contrary to what people in spam^H^H^H^Had business may believe, people actually attach meaning to what is written. It's not a #:G4202 button, it's a "like" button. If you call it "follow", you get a different meaning and different expectations.

> What if Twitter implemented something like this where certain tweets from a person you are following do not appear? How would that feel?

Twitter is not Facebook. Twitter is about following people. Facebook is about showing people (my friends) what I like (and not necessarily caring what it has to say).

I, for one, welcome these new changes and want to repeat by GP: good riddance!

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I think you've touched on the base problem of both sides of the argument -- it's a UX issue.

Facebook has given too much power to the 'like' button. There should be a different 'follow' or 'subscribe' button. If you subscribe to a page, you would expect to always get updates from it.

I only subscribed to facebook to be able to watch some dev videos. As I slowly became more used to it, I wanted to know how to get updates from the company page I work for. When I asked how to do this and was told to 'like' the company, that made no sense to me. What if I don't actually "like" something, but I still want to watch its activity?

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Yes..this is exactly what I mean. If you don't want to be spammed from liking something, then don't allow the brands to reach out to users who liked their products. You can only do this with "follow."

By this definition, brands won't tell people to "like" their pages anymore, they will just say "follow" them. FB blurred the links and now no one knows what "like" or "follow" will do.

I can follow a brand and still not get all the information from that brand. This is ridiculous.

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> Facebook has given too much power to the 'like' button. There should be a different 'follow' or 'subscribe' button.

Oh yes, please. I want to see the epic torrent of butthurt from "Brands" like Mark Cuban when that happens and they find that less than 10% of their "fans" are actually interested in their "messages" so their reach is far smaller than now.

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I agree with everything you said, but as a practical matter I wanted to point out that it is possible on Facebook to like something and then "hide" it from your newsfeed. This allows you to register your like without all the spam. This is what I did with "Barack Obama", because I do support him and wanted to publically acknowledge that, but I don't need to see three captioned photos of him per day.

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That doesn't stop your likes resulting in targetted advertising to your contacts (depending on their how-closely-they-follow-you settings, presumably).

For instance I sometimes see "sponsored links" of the form "<sister-in-law's-name> likes <retail-outlet>, here is an offer that they have on at the moment" - I've never liked <retail-outlet> on facebook let along done that and subscribed to see absolutely all posts from them.

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Yeah you're probably right about that. I think they can each individually hide those though, right? In any case, I agree that the UI for this is terrible and that's probably by design to make it less likely that the masses will hide everything.

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Well, that's not the way the like button works. The like button is the "follow and get updates" button. Like it or not (heh) that's the use of the button, and I believe people get this.

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I didn't. It was a complete surprise to me when I realized it. And then I unliked everything.

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When I look at the button, I see the word "Like", not the words "follow and get updates". Why should anyone assume something else that what is written on the button?

BTW. it's my anecdote vs. your anecdote; I wonder if there are any studies on the topic of how people perceive likes.

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I don't think the answer is so binary. Just because you like a product/company/person's page does not mean that you always want to hear from that page. The EdgeRank algorithm is supposed to rank social response and especially your friend's engagement in determining the importance of a post. However, there are clearly cases where the poster would want to attribute increased importance to that post and make sure that more people than usual see it (e.g. an important announcement). That is what Facebook is charging for: the ability to get around its algorithm. I think the problem in the past year for many brands is that Facebook has not had this feature, and the fact that you can pay for it is probably reassuring to many companies because it means they have a guaranteed channel if they need it. The alternative: people get annoyed with liking pages because they are too noisy and start unliking everything and you ruin the channel.

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For those who don't know what EdgeRank is, start with this primer: http://edgerank.net/

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However as you can see from that screenshot, a brand can target fans and friends of fans, so even if you don't like it a brand, you can see see the ad if your friend does

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Yes, but it as the screenshot says, it costs a lot to just reach your fans. Reaching friends of fans is a different issue.

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Typical HN Top-poster - up in arms about one point they care about, misses entire point of article. The issue is not that there is pricing, the issue is with how the pricing is presented and handled verses how most business people view the concept of likes/follows/subscribers.

> The right price is to charge an upfront fee for brands. In the current system there is complete uncertainty on the cost. And even worse, at least for our size brands, you have to deal with the pricing for each posting, which is a time waster."

> "I'm just suggesting that a single upfront fee or a monthly fee where there is certainty of cost would allow brands to focus on bringing in consumers to like the brands knowing that they can always reach everyone that likes them. I don't know what that number should be."

He's voting with his feet - like any of us would tell others to do - and saying without more sane pricing, he's looking elsewhere. Good riddance is a bad strategy for long term customer growth, methinks... but I'm not a business person.

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Nailed it. The top post is just the sort of middleware dismissive posting that PG talks about trying to filter out.

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You've created a straw-man so big it's trying for the basketball team.

As arron said, the relation between you and the brand can and should be moderated by you. Furthermore, just because a monetary transaction is involved doesn't mean it's a free market at all. Facebook is the faceless bureaucracy you rant against when it's trying to gate brand communications like this.

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So Facebook can't run it's own business? Facebook charging for "reach" is the essence of the free market. They have developed something valuable and now they are going to sell it.

And no, it isn't a straw man. Users suck at moderating and curating. If curating a Facebook presence becomes a great deal of work, users won't do it and will just stop using the service.

Some of the comments above also make the point that "Like" is terrible UX, it doesn't communicate what it should.

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If you want to follow the brand directly, bookmark their site or read their rss feed. It's their playground, we're just using it.

The sense of entitlement is overwhelming.

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You're just falling into Facebook's ostensible justification for aggressive monetization tactics. This is content that users voluntarily signed up to receive. Facebook is already setup for users to curate what content they receive. They chose who to friend, what personalities to follow, and what fan pages to like. They have the additional option to limit certain types of posts from certain people. They also have the ultimate means to limit content by blocking, un-friending, un-following, and un-liking pages.

This is simply a weak excuse given by Facebook to charge brands, which they have every right to do. But to say their motivation is to stop spam is simply dubious.

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As TeMPOraL correctly pointed out, it is not content users voluntarily signed up to receive -- its content that they "liked."

Facebook is following the same game plan Google has used: give away free traffic at incredible volume, then start charging for it.

I believe Facebook's mistake is that they should have some sort of transparency in regards to why they are charging what they are charging. In Google's case, what you are charged is based on what your competitors say its worth (ok, not really but that is Google's story and pretty much everyone believes it.) From what I see, Facebook is just throwing out a number which page owners see as extortion.

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There used to be a list of groups I liked on my profile. It was a way of highlighting a few things that amused or attracted me.

"I want to punch slow walking people in the back of the head" or "The skeffington 19 bluepoint appreciation society"

User content not brand content. The latest changes might push facebook back in that direction and I wouldn't be sorry. I don't see it making them a lot of money though.

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Dude, if I follow a page, I want to get updates on it.

Now he's having to pay extra to make sure I get updates? There are other systems out there that we can use to maintain the "interested party" connection, e.g., twitter, email, rss feeds, g+, $your_system_here.

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Yea but Facebook is relying on their massive userbase as justification for the additional reach cost per post. I guess the $3k is the "price" for having access to all of those subscribers in FB. They're welcome to take their posts to Twitter or G+ but are they going to get the same value?

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What on earth are you on about? Facebook doesn't just put stuff in your feed for no reason. Brands I like appear in my feed because I like them. If you consider this spam, why on earth would you follow the brand? This argument is just so so so bad and it is used over and over whenever people talk about facebook advertising. Its basically like signing up for a mailing list and then freaking out when you get an email. You got it because you opted in to seeing updates. If you don't want those, there is a simple way to opt out. You don't need to defend facebook no matter how wrong they are to do that...

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Not true on mobile. I see advertisements for Samsung, Amazon, even Salesforce (what the hell?) right in between all the things I care about, just because my friends like them. Believe me, I can't express how much I don't want to see them. But there they are. I bet if I pull up the Facebook app I can find one sitting there right now.

One: http://i.imgur.com/0FXVv.png

Two: http://i.imgur.com/3Xfbj.png

We'll see them on the website soon enough.

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There are other ways to limit the onslaught of spam: user-defined filters. Facebook could have gone that way, but then, giving users control isn't lucrative.

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What about the organizations that can't afford this pricing model? There are quite a bit of non-profits and small businesses I follow that simply can't afford to sustain this. They're not spamming me if I voluntarily chose to Like their page. I did that so I can get updates, coupons and specials. Costs will force them back to email marketing, and if that's the case we all lose.

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+1 he's being a crybaby billionaire. He cries about paying $3000 to reach 1M users when I have to pay $1 in transaction fee to withdraw money from my bank.

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He's not crying specifically about paying $3k, he's annoyed because Facebook moved the goal posts in a completely opaque way to the people already resident and established, which echoes a lot of sentiment I've heard recently.

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Or exactly because he cries about paying $3000 is the reason why he is a millionaire.

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*billionaire. Just so we are all on the same page.

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