May 29, 2012
I had a short interaction last week on a friend’s Facebook page about, of course, the Facebook IPO. When I mentioned that many of the same types of criticisms were applied to Amazon 10 years ago I got a spew of pretty much nonsensical comments. “Amazon took 10 years to become a good stock” “You only buy short term in the market” “Amazon finally made money because of the Kindle”. I’m sure those comments are correct in some weird context but as someone who bought Amazon at $16 in 2002 I think I kind of have the last laugh. So I confess…I bought Facebook stock the day of the IPO. And I’m holding it because I’ll bet this is just a phase. One I can make money from.
Okay, I’m sure there were improprieties with the IPO. Ones we’d probably overlook (note: Bill Clinton) if we liked the brand. But sometimes I feel like it’s just plain trendy to ignore most of the facts and hate a brand. Walmart is a great example. Target does everything bad (and more) that Walmart does, but for a long time it was cool to hate Walmart, especially if you were an environmentalist. No matter that Walmart started the trend of green roofs in retailing, or that its sustainability practices are now mimicked by most big box retailers. Until Walmart hired a bunch of Target marketers, we hated them.
We would never shop at JCPenney (unless it was with Mom) until they hired Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson in another media campaign spearheaded by an ex-Target marketer. Now we think they’re super cool because they have Ellen. Same goes for the Gap. The brand was tired and outdated according to most marketers, until they associated Banana Republic with Mad Men. Now they’ve had their best quarter in years.
By far, the Facebook haters seem to be the most vitriolic these days despite attempts to distract with Zuckerberg marriage stories, all planted I’m sure. (Let’s make them love us again with wedding dress talk and profiles of his brainy new wife!) It’s sad to me the guys at Facebook don’t know how to use traditional media to sway the public, or that it’s the fastest way to do so. I’ll bet they even disdain the idea that traditional media will help save their reputation. However I’m betting that eventually they’ll be smart enough to figure it out. Maybe they could learn some lessons from Toyota on that.
By the way, does anyone else find it exceptionally ironic that haters do most of their hating while ON Facebook.