Prediction: Twitter and other platforms will jeopardize start-ups built on them
Consider the four stages of platform risk:
- Desperate: A young platform that still hasn’t made a profit is desperate to find revenue streams. Many Twitter app providers have had the rug pulled out from them when Twitter began delivering the same features. Some of the better ones got bought by Twitter. Others suffered or shuttered as investors ran for the hills.
- Dangerous: Facebook is very profitable, but still young. It’s dangerous because it’s constantly reinventing itself, like when it got rid of tabs for applications or its forthcoming Timeline redesign. Or, it may even be subversively hurting third party clients to favor its own services.
Over and over, immature platforms have jeopardized the viability of those who’ve built on them. From Twitter developers being ousted a year after our article to Facebook constantly changing stories on publishers, killing some along the way (Upworthy).
“The move is supposedly in order to make the experience of consuming news much easier and the company has publicly said that it would like to improve it previously, however it seems like such a deal would only benefit Facebook more than the news organizations themselves.”
Publishers have become increasingly reliant on Facebook as more and more news is consumed on the app. They may see traffic drop if they are moved to an area of the app which users end up not visiting. It is not known how Facebook will decide which publications are deemed trustworthy.
“The change does add an extra step for YouTubers hoping to use external links to their own websites and crowdfunding pages, especially if they have no interest in joining YouTube’s Partner Program otherwise. YouTube also removed ads from videos with less than 10,000 channel views earlier this year, meaning smaller YouTubers may have a harder time drawing followers to their Patreons.”
More on this: Making Money on YouTube Just Got Much Harder
Prediction 2: You’re only safe when you’re aligned with the platform
As a start-up built on someone else’s platform, your success depends on how well you align with the platform owner’s interests. The minute your interests diverge, your risk increases…or possibly opens a door to sell out and move out of mom’s basement. Consider what it means to be aligned or not aligned with the interests of your platform.
What happened: Compare Buzzfeed to Upworthy
What makes Buzzfeed so special?
Is it – as some in the industry will whisper over a drink – because Buzzfeed happens to be a close Facebook partner? It’s true that Buzzfeed’s business model is to make ads for brands on Buzzfeed.com, and then spend some of the money it gets from those advertisers buying traffic to those ads from Facebook.
“BuzzFeed is very aligned with the interests of all the major social networks” -Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti
Compared to Upworthy…
Facebook announced a change to the algorithm it uses to determine what kinds of updates (“stories”) users see in the News Feeds. In a blog post, Facebook said it wanted to feature more “high quality” content and fewer “meme photos.”
- PragerU sues Google, YouTube for ‘censoring’ conservative videos, Oct 2017
- PayPal, GoFundMe, And Patreon Banned A Bunch Of People Associated With The Alt-Right. Here’s Why., Aug 2017
- Twitter Engineers Explain How They ‘Shadow Ban’ Conservatives, Jan 2018