It was a great idea at the time.
News makers had previously complained that Facebook’s social meteoring denied them traffic. As users passed stories to one another on the social behemoth, news orgs felt left out. Why go to a news web site when a friend is likely to share it within the social ‘closed walls’ of Facebook, was the argument.
Closed wall because as Tim Berner’s Lee ( the mother of the Net) says
The web is interesting because it is universal; social networks are interesting because they are not — they give us a custom view, a manageable and trusted slice.
You get what you’re profiled to get on SM. No sustainable alternate view.
A year ago, you’ll recall Facebook came up with the idea of Instant Articles. Problem solved. At least insofar as the newsmakers getting traffic because by buying into the Instant Article deal, publishers could now drive more traffic to their sites and according to all accounts revenue too.
Facebook says publishers would keep 100% of the ad revenue when the publisher sells ads, and would relinquish 30% to Facebook if ads are sold from Facebook’s network.
But somethings awry. At #Talkjournalism, a multiplex journalism conference that took place in Jaipur over the weekend, Raju Narisetti, Senior Vice-President, Strategy, News Corporation made his point.
Of course there’s no love lost between News Corp and bodies like Facebook and Google, who according Brian Nowak, a Morgan Stanley analyst noted that “in the first quarter of 2016, 85 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising will go to Google or Facebook”.
Narisetti says that publishers handing their articles to Facebook are effectively handing over their company’s traffic, which the social site can use to reel in its advertisers.
So notwithstanding the 30% Facebook take from companies for their own advertising, Narisetti’s point is the trojan horse. The more data Facebook accrues, inevitably it’s a boon for the social network giant to pull in added revenue from a spectrum of advertisers, leaving publishers short.