Home / Blogs

Facebook vs. Domain Names: Lessons from Cambridge Analytica

Roland LaPlante

The current revelations about Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook data illustrate an important drawback to using a Facebook account as your business' online presence: Facebook knows and sells your customers!

Millions of companies — especially small companies and start-ups — rely on a Facebook account for their online presence. On the surface, it seems like a great idea: it's free; it's interactive; lots of prospects have access; and it makes you look savvy.

In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica meltdown, however, business owners are wise to reconsider this reliance on Facebook for 3 reasons:

  1. Facebook owns all the data about your Facebook presence: they collect it, they study it, they package it. They know everyone who "likes" you, all their comments, all THEIR friends, everything!
  2. Facebook shares little of this information with YOU: yes, you can see how many likes you get, but that's about it. These are YOUR customers, but the information about them is NOT yours — it's a Facebook asset. Remember the adage: if the product is free, YOU are the product.
  3. Facebook will sell your customers to your competitors: Your competitors can target YOUR customers with ads. If your competitors buy this service, they can put ads in front of your customers whenever your customers log into Facebook. Do you want your customers to be precisely targeted by your competitors?

The easy, affordable and sustainable alternative is to buy your own domain name and put up your own website. Today, there are over a thousand alternative "extensions" to meet your needs. If you want to show information, choose a .info site; if you are a professional, choose a .pro; if you are a club, choose a .club — domain names today include may descriptive terms to help customers find and remember you. For less than $50 a year, you can recapture control of your online identity.

Many online domain name retailers also have easy website builders, email services and other tools to help you get a credible, useful internet presence that YOU own (not Facebook). You'll get all the data about your visitors, and they will be protected from Facebook's data mining and selling practices. With your own domain name and site, you don't need to worry about Facebook collapsing — your online presence is in your control, not theirs.

Today's Facebook revelations are a good reason to review your online presence and make sure it serves YOU, and not Facebook and your competitors.

A version of this post was originally published in The Domain Name Association (DNA) blog.

By Roland LaPlante, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Afilias An expert on new TLD development, LaPlante is an original member of the management team at Afilias and has over 30 years' senior marketing experience building brands at companies like Procter and Gamble, Citibank, and McGraw-Hill. Visit Page
Follow CircleID on
Related topics: Domain Names, Privacy, Web
SHARE THIS POST

If you are pressed for time ...

... this is for you. More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Vinton Cerf, Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet

Share your comments

competotors data Alex Tajirian  –  Apr 03, 2018 1:49 PM PST

1.  “Facebook owns all the data about your Facebook presence: they collect it, they study it, they package it.” Do they sell the packages? How do I go about buying such packages?

2.  What information does Facebook have about my customers that I don’t or cannot obtain?

3.  How do I get my competitor’s customers data? How much does it cost?

Thanks

“Your competitors can target YOUR customers with Alex Tajirian  –  Apr 05, 2018 12:23 PM PST

“Your competitors can target YOUR customers with ads. If your competitors buy this service, they can put ads in front of your customers whenever your customers log into Facebook.” But, if competitors can get your website’s performance information from Facebook, you can get theirs. Thus, your ad scenario would lead to mutually destructive tactics.

“These are YOUR customers, but the information about them is NOT yours — it's a Facebook asset.” Extrapolating your Facebook-use argument, we should stop using “free” (i.e. have no direct costs to users) sites such as Google and LinkedIn. But, Facebook is not getting the information from you for “free;” they must be providing you a potentially value-adding service. Thus, there should be a cost-benefit analyses.

According to many reputable studies, “likes” are not correlated with profits. Thus, relying on them as a competitive tool can be costly. Hence, they are not useful Facebook-information about your competitors.

To post comments, please login or create an account.

Related

Topics

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

New TLDs

Sponsored byAfilias

IP Addressing

Sponsored byAvenue4 LLC

DNS Security

Sponsored byAfilias

Cybersecurity

Sponsored byVerisign