Mark and I Are So Done

facebook

We have been puzzling for some time about how to share the cool little things that often crop up in this wonderful life of voyaging, but that are not a big enough deal to make a post of:

  • The photograph that captures an interesting moment, or boat, or person;
  • the odd thought (some have claimed that I have a surfeit of those);
  • the great anchorage or good restaurant;
  • a link to something we find useful or just amusing.

Facebook and Attainable Adventure Cruising

For the last year we have been using AAC’s Facebook page, off and on, to post this kind of thing. And it seemed to work fairly well: easy to use and a quite attractive way to display my photographs. We even experimented with displaying our Facebook feed on the side bar of the main site so that the vast majority of our readers (over 90%) who don’t seem to use Facebook, or at least don’t visit the AAC Facebook page, would not be left out.

But about two months ago Mark Zuckerberg decided that if we want all of you who use Facebook to keep track of what is happening on our site to actually see our posts, we must pay him about US$5.00 a time.

Now I know Mark has some shareholders that are just a tad cranky about the 50% drubbing they took on the stock since it went public. And I understand that he needs to show some big time new revenue. I can even sympathize, since we have revenue issues of our own.

Yes, Mark, I’m talking to You

But, Mark, I really don’t think this is good behaviour. See, the thing is, a bunch of people “Liked” our page with the expectation that this would allow them to keep up with our ramblings and rantings.

That was the deal they and us went in with. And you just moved the goal posts after the fact. And I will be damned if we’re going to pay you $5.00 a time just so our readers can get to our content.  If you want us to advertise with you, fine, make a compelling value case and we will think about it. But we don’t like being held to ransom. Nor are we going to continue to create content on your web site so you can get even richer. So there.

OK, enough yelling at Mark.

An Alternative to Facebook

Here is what we are doing about this: We paid the…uh, promotion fee for a post on Facebook linking to this post. But  we won’t do that again, or at least not often.

We will continue to post a notice to Facebook, when we publish a new post, but it is unlikely that you will see it since we certainly can’t afford five bucks a time.

So, If you want to be sure that you don’t miss any posts here at Attainable Adventure Cruising, the best way is to subscribe to our email alerts—which come to you thanks to Sergei and Larry, who, whatever you may think of them, don’t tend to move the goal posts. Don’t worry, we won’t use your email address to send you junk mail and we won’t share it with anyone else.

This and That Stuff

Of course this leaves us with a problem. What about the this and that stuff, that I talked about in the beginning of this post, that is now homeless? We have two  options and we would really like to hear from you, our readers, on which you prefer:

  • We could make this stuff short posts, like this. But that might result in a post nearly every day—when we are feeling inspired—and we know that your time is valuable and you only have so much of it to devote to our site. We don’t want to abuse your interest.
  • Or we could put a few short items together in one post and publish that once or twice a month, like this.

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{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Matt Marsh October 14, 2012, 8:53 am

    I’m happy with lots of short posts, as long as the RSS feed ( http://feeds.feedburner.com/AttainableAdventureCruising ) is configured for full posts instead of teasers.

    If every post needs a click-through to the site to see the full thing, then fewer and longer posts would be better. Just my $0.02 worth.

    Facebook is so full of pointless junk these days that it’s too much work to sort the good stuff from it. I just can’t be bothered to do that anymore.

    Reply
    • Deb October 14, 2012, 1:58 pm

      I agree – I use Google Reader to follow my blogs and it displays the full post if you have it configured correctly. This allows me to see the short posts and browse through them quickly.

      Deb
      S/V Kintala
      http://www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com

      Reply
      • C. Dan October 15, 2012, 9:45 am

        Same here.
        Interesting perspective on the economics of blogging =)

        Reply
    • RobertB October 19, 2012, 11:32 pm

      Pretty much same as Matt. I personally have no interest in Facebook. Mr. Zuckerberg and I disagree on some very fundamental levels. RSS is fine. I enjoy both the short and the long posts and would also rather not click through to get full content.

      Reply
  • Jake Jenkins October 14, 2012, 9:00 am

    I completely agree with Matt on both points.

    Jake

    Reply
  • Max Fletcher October 14, 2012, 1:40 pm

    I have a number of newsletters that I get by email once a week, usually on the same day of the week so you know when to expect it and look for it. What if there was a weekly AAC wrap-up, say every Sunday, or Thursday or whatever. Really appreciate your sharing your inspiration and knowledge. Max

    Reply
  • Justin Catterall October 14, 2012, 1:42 pm

    I’m with Matt too.

    Reply
  • Geir Ove October 14, 2012, 3:48 pm

    monthly by mail from web page. i am on FB but never go in on yours but i do go to the web page. and read.

    Reply
  • Dave Benjamin October 14, 2012, 6:20 pm

    We have a Facebook page for Island Planet Sails and I know I’m not being charged for people to see what we post. Did you receive some sort of notification from Facebook? My understanding is you can pay a fee to promote posts so they appear higher up in the feed for the users. I’d hate to see you drop Facebook presence based on a misunderstanding.

    Reply
    • John October 15, 2012, 8:05 am

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your concern, but there is no misunderstanding. FB’s own traffic measurement systems shows that up until two months ago we would receive 1000-2000 views on FB for each post. Then the promotion for money “option” appeared on our page and at exactly the same time our pageviews, as measured by FB, started to drop for each post to the present level of 100-200. We then, as an experiment, promoted the post on our eBook for $5.00…page views jumped to 1500. The message from FB is clear: pay, or you don’t play.

      As I say in the post above, we will still post a heads up on FB when we post at AAC, but we will no longer create any original content on FB. To spend time writing a post for FB for 100-200 people when the same time could be put into creating content for 15,000 unique people a month on our site, makes no sense.

      Reply
      • Matt Marsh October 15, 2012, 1:36 pm

        Facebook’s main obligation right now is to either justify a price/earnings ratio 4x that of any comparable company, or bring that p/e into line with accepted norms. So either they’ll shake down content producers for every penny they can find, or their shares will tank, or both.

        Reply
  • Hinnerk October 15, 2012, 12:25 am

    Would agree to Dave. Sounds worse than it is. Facebook still is a good distributor to spread your excellent content and I personally see see me “paying” them by publishing my content there for free. From that point of view, if at all, the consumer should be the one to be charged. But that is another story.
    Your posts will be visible and people who are “active” followers (liking/sharing your stories) will still have them quite hight in the stream by default. They might see them further down than before, but they are not invisible. Right after Friends activity and articles where pageowners have paied for a higher placement.

    Reply
    • John October 15, 2012, 8:14 am

      Hi Hinnerk,

      Please see my comment to Dave with hard numbers on our experience.

      I have to disagree that FB is a good distributor for content. In my view, using Facebook is in fact “Internet Sharecropping“. It is analogous to the poor farmer that creates all the content (food) but is still totally at the mercy of the landowner who may, for his own benefit, suddenly decide to enclose, or run sheep, and thereby ruin the farmer. No, I want my own land (website).

      Reply
  • paul shard October 15, 2012, 3:43 am

    We had similar issues on FB the last month. Views on our FB page “Distant Shores” suddenly dropped to 10% of what they were… but for our site it was specifically on “albums” we had posted where the drop was that severe. The alternative is $5 or $10 or $15 options to “promote” a post. Not happening!

    Facebook uses “EdgeRank” to decide which posts to display to people, and this is now being modified by pushing promoted posts higher – and naturally – unpromoted posts will be seen less.

    Your site is extremely well done and the ability to see recent activity and comment would seem to make a major FB presence not worth the effort. We’ll happily follow you on the “real” internet :-)

    Paul Shard

    Reply
    • John October 15, 2012, 8:09 am

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the backup and the kind comment on our content.

      I particularly like your comment about the real internet.

      Reply
  • Chris October 15, 2012, 8:29 am

    We bailed out of FB two+ years ago when it appeared to to us their core business policy was sheep shearing, and if the sheep got anything out of it, well that was OK.

    At that time our major issue was the sheared wool appeared to be poorly protected personal information. But we saw no reason to believe they wouldn’t purse customer side monetization when the advertiser side and demographic information sales models failed to support equity valuations.

    I lost consulting jobs because I wouldn’t recommend or enable FB capabilities for my customers (customer decision not FB). Now some of those same folks are asking for help to disengage.

    I considered doing so, but found the process so abstruse as to be unmanageable from a cruising-boat on the move. It’s a bit like removing a fly from fly-paper all parts intacta.

    Good luck with the process. We have never accessed anything using FB (not even family pics) and had you chosen that as an exclusive path, we would have had to say good-bye to AAC.

    Chris

    Reply
  • sailias October 15, 2012, 9:52 am

    I like the RSS feed option but that may be difficult for not techie to configure so go with Marks perspective as a fallback. Perhaps a short howto would help. What I dont like about facebook and google is they own your content. Reason I never put anything of FB and removed all data from all google services other then email for general mail, the gmx account for fun stuff, and a personal account for business.

    Android phones are the worst for this as they are personal data collection devices, everything is tracked and stored, so systematically removed all google apps and replaced with equivalents. MacOS is no different.

    Always read the EULAS. Borring but interesting in a sense.

    /ch

    Reply
  • Derek H October 15, 2012, 11:19 am

    Facebook is the disco of this era. I never liked disco and I feel the same way about Facebook. Stock markets discount future earnings and just looking at Facebook’s performance it is telling you something is wrong here. I found Facebook intrusive and obnoxious and stopped using it completely after a 6 month trial a few years back.

    I follow you via the RSS feed (sometimes) but usually I just go directly to your website as it is pegged to my “Favorites” bar.

    As far as how often you post, I don’t expect you to post to any fixed schedule. I would MUCH prefer random, high quality posts such as you have been doing for years now, than to see the content diluted as you hold yourselves to an unrealistic publishing schedule. You aren’t Time Magazine (oh, I hate them too) and I don’t expect you to publish like them either.

    Keep up the good vibes.

    Derek H

    Reply
  • Martin October 15, 2012, 11:24 am

    The RSS-feed option has the advantage that it wouldn’t tie one down to a periodic summary post. You could act quickly on inspiration. Always nice if the RSS header aims to inform rather than simply to tempt.

    Reply
  • richard s. October 15, 2012, 2:18 pm

    agree totally with derek, above…i can’t improve on any of his comments…fyi, am budeting another $ shot to aac for your christmas present from me this year…richard in tampa bay, s/v lakota (formerly m/v cavu, formerly s/v sidra, formerly s/v azalea)

    Reply
  • Dave Benjamin October 15, 2012, 3:48 pm

    I think the decision around using Facebook to promote a commercial enterprise is no different than evaluating other forms of advertising. Reach, frequency, audience demographics, and other metrics are all factors in the decision making process. I own two businesses and serve in a part time capacity as VP of Business Development for an SaaS venture. It’s incumbent on me to make good business decisions.

    I find the “pay to play” comments a bit puzzling as I fully expect advertisers to be compensated for their efforts. While I am not an admirer of Facebook and Zuckerberg per se, I think all of us would agree that nobody wants to work for free. Facebook has to find ways to monetize their offerings. It’s up to me as a business owner to evaluate their service and decide if it’s appropriate for my business. A $5-$15 investment that yields a client for me would be well worth it. Honestly, I had never considered “promoting” a post, but now I find myself a bit intrigued.

    Every business owner needs to do what he or she feels is best for their business. As I mentioned, I’m not a fan of Zuckerberg and his minions, but for some businesses, the ad presence will pencil out. Basing decisions on facts and figures rather than emotions is my goal. My earlier comment was simply to ask if the decisions related to Facebook were based on accurate information. In the process I’ve learned some new things about Facebook advertising, which I’m thankful for.

    Reply
    • John October 15, 2012, 7:18 pm

      Hi Dave,

      I agree. And my call was made based on facts and figures too, not emotion. If we had promoted all of our posts on FB it would have cost us US$3000 to $5000 a year with no related income, clearly untenable.

      Reply
  • richard s. October 15, 2012, 5:09 pm

    dave, can you give us an english translation for the above please ?

    Reply
  • John Armitage October 15, 2012, 6:21 pm

    I’m a bit puzzled about this energy put on the FB topic. I’ve never used it and won’t. Your email notifications suit me just fine.

    Reply
    • John October 15, 2012, 7:13 pm

      Hi John,

      I hear you. The reason for writing the post was that I did not want the nearly 500 people that had followed us via Facebook to think we had dropped off the face of the internet planet without an explanation of the fact that our disappearance was the result of action of Facebook’s part, not ours.

      Reply
  • Flemming Torp October 15, 2012, 7:31 pm

    e-mail notfication works fine for me. On shore and on the boat. I don’t really see FB adding any value to your good work!
    I enjoy reading your news and thoughts …
    best regards Flemming Torp, Denmark

    Reply
  • DWilmot October 15, 2012, 7:51 pm

    Face book is a waste of space. My 2cents worth…….

    Reply
  • Steve October 15, 2012, 9:11 pm

    Hi John,
    We are totally happy with AAC and email notification. No way are we are interested in FB.
    Thank you for you great site and your great readers who contribute much factual information to go with yours, Phylis and Colin’s. There is no other place like AAC that we know of.

    Reply
  • RDE October 16, 2012, 12:53 pm

    Unlike John, my hatred of Facebook and Zukerbug has always been base upon emotion! And upon the fact that it always seemed to me as if it were designed by George Orwell as the data collection arm of Homeland Security. It has been a great short play, so I shouldn’t complain!

    Reply
  • Regina Regan October 16, 2012, 3:54 pm

    I’m happy with either. I find facebook easy to follow via smartphone. Anyway,I’d be happy if you’d like our sailing club facebook page, it doesn’t cost us 5 bucks to post although we do pay €4 to advertise our post – http://www.facebook.com/sailingindublin

    Good luck with your blog,

    Reply

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