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商业 - 科技

一键破解Facebook的赚钱难题

Dan Mitchell 2012年10月16日

社交网络Facebook借鉴Pinterest的经验,推出了功能类似的“want”键。用户可以使用这种功能向好友推荐自己喜欢的产品。目前,Facebook正在联合一批品牌开展试验,如果成功,它将有望开辟一个重要的财源。

    Facebook公开上市之后,对于这家社交网络巨头收入问题的关注抵达临界值。那次不幸的IPO之后,人们开始郑重其事地大声发问:移动平台几乎没办法提供广告服务,这家公司到底怎样赚钱?

    近日,Facebook开始试验类似于Pinterest的“想要(want)”按键,此举或将帮助该公司走出收入困境。Facebook联手包括陶瓷谷仓(Pottery Barn)、维多利亚的秘密(Victoria's Secret)、内曼•马库斯(Neiman Marcus)和 Fab.com在内的7大零售商,合作推出全新的“收藏(Collections)”功能。这“显然是一项抵御Pinterest的措施,”互联网新闻博客Mashale撰稿人托德•瑟曼说。

    但这项措施的终极意义或许远不止于此。拥有10亿用户的Facebook将数量惊人的消费者聚集在一个地方。但到目前为止,Facebook主要的收入来源依然是广告服务。在线广告价格正在下降,这意味着每用户平均收入也在下降。“收藏”功能让用户彼此之间分享他们喜欢的物品——点击“想要”按钮可以把想要产品的照片放在朋友的动态消息上,这些朋友随后可点击他们自己的“想要”按钮,甚至可以通过Facebook购买想要的产品。

    现在,Facebook还没有从这些购买行动中分成,但几乎可以肯定的是,如果实验获得成功,它肯定会这样做。它很可能将成为一个巨大的收入来源。

    此举也可以让Facebook减少对广告的依赖——许多广告看起来非常俗气,还有些纯粹是垃圾信息。它可以充分利用Facebook的分享功能,分享毕竟是社交媒体的真谛所在。如果你的朋友喜欢某件东西,你很可能也会非常喜欢。今后不再是某位广告商出面直接推销产品,而是你的某位朋友说,自己喜欢这件产品。

    照片分享网站Pinterest对没用过的人来说显得有些神秘。它可以让人们把自己喜欢的事物(时装、家庭装饰创意和烹饪技巧等)的图像聚集在一起。但只有成为Pinterest 用户,才能使用其功能。大多数可能这样做的人已经是Facebook用户,已经在与其大多数亲朋好友在那里交流沟通。

    与此同时,eBay也开始进入这一领域。这家购物网站已经推出“订阅(Feeds)”功能,其运行方式类似于Pinterest 和Facebook的“收藏”功能,但所涉及的是该网站可供出售的产品。eBay称,这项功能“将你想要的产品直接推送给你,而不是相反。”

    现在回想起来,这种想法经历了这么长的时间才流行开来,的确是一件令人惊讶的事情。但社交媒体工具终于让分享变得如此简单,企业必须完全适应这样一种理念:最好的推销员往往是它们自己的客户。

    译者:任文科

    It was only after Facebook went public that attention to its revenue troubles reached critical mass. And it was only after that ill-starred IPO that people began asking -- in earnest and at full volume -- how the company could possibly make money on mobile platforms, where it is nearly impossible to serve ads.

    Facebook (FB) might be onto the beginnings of a solution with its new, Pinterest-like "want" button, which it has rolled out as a test. Facebook has teamed up with seven retailers including Pottery Barn, Victoria's Secret, Neiman Marcus and Fab.com for its new "Collections" feature. It's "a fairly transparent hedge against Pinterest," says Todd Wasserman of blog Mashable.

    But it could wind up being much more than that. With a billion users, Facebook has amassed a gigantic number of consumers in one place. But so far, the main way it has made any money is by serving up ads. And online ad rates are falling, which means that revenue-per-user is falling, too. The Collections feature has users themselves sharing the stuff they like with each other -- hitting the "want" button puts pictures of desired products on the news feeds of friends, who can then hit their own "want" button, or even make a purchase via Facebook.

    For now, Facebook will not be taking a cut from those purchases, but rest assured that if the tests prove successful, it will. And that could prove to be a big generator of revenue.

    It also will allow Facebook to rely less on the often-cheesy, sometimes spammy ads that it runs. And it makes the best use of Facebook's sharing capabilities, which is after all, is what social media is all about. If your friends like something, there's a decent chance that you'll like it, too. And it won't be an advertiser directly pitching a product, but just a friend saying that he or she likes that product.

    The appeal of Pinterest is somewhat mysterious to those who don't use it. But it allows people to gather together in one spot images of all the things they like -- fashions, home-decorating ideas, cooking tips, etc. But you have to become a Pinterest member to use it. Most people who are likely to do so are already on Facebook, and are already hooked up with most of their friends and relatives there.

    Meanwhile, eBay is getting into the game as well. It has launched "Feeds," which works similarly to Pinterest and Facebook's Collections, but with products that are on the site and available for sale. It "brings the products you want right to you, as opposed to the other way around," eBay says.

    In retrospect, it's surprising that this idea took so long to catch on. But social media tools had to advance to the point where such sharing was made simple, and businesses had to get fully used to the idea that their best salespeople were often their own customers.

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