Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Facebook will sell users their own content back 10 years from now

Tonight I have something like meta-purchase fatigue. My train back from Brussels was canceled and I went to the news stand and bought an International Herald Tribune as a consolation prize: it cost me three Euros. It contained a very interesting article entitled "Disruptions: Privacy Fades in Facebook Era". When I finally came home, I decided to re-read this online and send it to a friend.

But aaargh. The IHT site informs me that I have hit my 20 article limit for the month.

Hey! What's this 20 article limit thing about anyway? I just laid down my 3 Euros -- why can't I see the digital copy of this article.

OK. That's a bad attitude -- that's purchase fatigue, I can overcome that. I care about the content in the IHT -- it's worth something to me so maybe it's time to get an actual subscription. A few fantasies of having a paper delivered to my door in the morning (...and having the time to read it). Really, yes, let's do it. I need to support the news -- creating good news takes money.

Alas, the website is not going to let me do that: My attempts to make an impulse buy of home delivery are met with an error message "Unknown SOA error". There's the meta-purchase fatigue. You try to do the right thing -- spend your money to get something you value -- and somehow that doesn't work either.

The purchase fatigue that faces us in the future will be caused by Facebook. My prediction: In about 10 years, Facebook will start selling us back our historical posts.

Remember those pictures from that college party? Weren't they all gone? Now for a mere $29.99 Facebook will dig them out of its archive and present them to you, labeled with the names of your friends that you have forgotten and festooned with their comments.

Maybe that is the rant of a tired blogger, but otherwise it's also a darn good long term business strategy for Facebook -- if they can somehow fight the "purchase fatigue" that will arise trying to sell people back their own stuff.

At least they should circumvent meta-purchase fatigue and get the subscription service right: when I decide to shell out the cash and sign up for a subscription to get my own past delivered back to me, it would be nice if I didn't an "Unknown SOA error".

In the meantime, I have manged to circumvent the IHT paywall and have a look at the digital version of "Disruptions: Privacy Fades in Facebook Era". Problem solved for now.

And the whole thing distracted me from actually blogging about social multimedia sharing and privacy...

....or about the fact that Google doesn't love me and doesn't return anything useful for the query "purchase fatigue". "Purchase" is a modifier and not part of my search intent in this context, Google.

I know that not interpreting my query as an intent to purchase something is less likely to lead to ad clicks -- but please, really I'm tired of paying for stuff, humor me, really...