A Letter To Facebook From The Rest Of The World
A couple of weeks ago you launched your new location service, Places. We all think it’s great and are really excited that you’re opening up the world of location to a whole new audience. We can’t wait to start finding new and exciting ways of using Places to connect consumers and brands. But we can’t.
The thing is that you’ve dangled this shiny new toy in front of us, but only our American friends get to play with it. And you’ve done this before, with lots of your other new launches, as have your friends Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter, Apple and even MySpace. And we’d really like you to stop doing this.
Whilst we understand that the US is undoubtedly your biggest advertising market, and indeed the world’s biggest advertising market, most of your users live somewhere else (nearly 80% of them in fact.) And many of these countries would be perfect markets to test new products, with populations adopting new technologies like nobody’s business.
Like Sweden, a country with internet penetration of 92% (as opposed to 77% in the US) and the first country in the world where internet ad spend overtook TV. Or Indonesia, which might only have a tiny internet population, but is already one of your 4 biggest markets. Or the UK, where you’re now more popular than any other media brand (apart from the final of X-Factor, but even you can’t compete with Simon Cowell.) Or Italy, where there are 1.5 mobile phones for every person.
We realise that there are some things we have which you don’t (like Spotify or BBC’s iPlayer) but these are for contractual reasons, rather than out of choice. But you see, the thing is, we love the web (hell, it was an Englishman who invented it) and we love you, and all your friends and we’d really love to get a chance to try out some of your new toys before our American cousins. And not only would it make us happy, it would also, for all the sorts of reasons I listed above, give you new audiences to test these services out, before rolling them out in your most profitable market.
Here’s hoping that the next time we write to you, it’s to thank you for making Sweden/Singapore/UK/Japan/Italy/wherever, your newest test market.
All the best,
PS – if you could pass this on to Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple & MySpace next time you see them, that would be great.
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