Facebook and Tobacco…I am Not Kidding

I am a relatively careless surfer.

I use the web to make me smarter. I don’t really mind (yet) that Companies are getting smarter as well. They should. That should make the whole experience better over the long run.

Most of you that read this blog do so for financial and market trends, but when I am not writing about stocks I am writing about the Social Web.

This last week, Mike Arrington had a series of posts on the Social Gaming System…entitled ‘Scamville’ . It’s an incredible series of posts and has led to many quick and decisive actions by many of the parties involved/accused. Today, Zynga said they will remove ALL in game ads .

It’ a stretch of course to compare Facebook and Tobacco companies, but hear me out.

Facebook and Tobacco are both addictive products.

There are TWO big differences. The first… Facebook knows EVERYTHING about you and Philip Morris needs to know NOTHING about you – you will come find them. The second – tobacco has a clear and insane profit model.

They both have pretty big responsibilities and they need to be accountable. Both need to come with warnings though as it relates to minors. It has taken 40 years to put some half decent warnings on tobacco products and we should not wait four more months for them to be seen on Facebook where minors, MY CREDIT Card and offers meet.

My kids are not on Facebook yet, but I do not want to get things charged to my credit card while they surf and play. I am pretty sure that I don’t live in a bubble/utopia so I understand that it is unlikely for my wish to come true. That said, I want my kids to be told pretty clearly that:

‘If you click here, YOUR DAD will be [email protected]#!king pissed’ so find him and ask him.

I don’t play Social games and I don’t smoke. If you are an adult and have the time, knock yourself out on both.

I have written many times that the valuations thrust on Twitter and Facebook make me nervous. The Scamville series from Mike Arrington are exactly why.

Facebook has investors to please and I dont trust them at all. Twitter’s $1 billion valuation is now a serious pressure to perform financially no matter what insiders say.

If the main way for Social Networks to profitability and valuation is through these sleazy offers, put me in the camp for paying a monthly fee and removing all ads to me and my family.

And make that choice upfront before I use your product the first time.

Tobacco is 100 percent long-term evil, Google is ‘not evil’ (ya right) and Facebook and Twitter fit somewhere in between. They should be able to get pretty close to zero.

33 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve come up with the perfect business model for Facebook – Parents buy a monthly subscription for “alerts” that tell them what their kids are up to and who they’re talking to.

    Oops, suicide rates for the 35 to 55 age group just skyrocketed

    Great post

    Josh

    • some things I just dont want to know because the context is always wrong at just the wrong moment.

      you raise the kids as best you can and cross the fingers that their friends on and off facebook are the right.

  2. reformedbroker says:

    I've come up with the perfect business model for Facebook – Parents buy a monthly subscription for “alerts” that tell them what their kids are up to and who they're talking to.

    Oops, suicide rates for the 35 to 55 age group just skyrocketed

    Great post

    Josh

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  5. howardlindzon says:

    some things I just dont want to know because the context is always wrong at just the wrong moment.

    you raise the kids as best you can and cross the fingers that their friends on and off facebook are the right.

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  8. LScott says:

    When I was a kid the only thing that was EVIL (at least in my mind) was my best friend’s big brother…..but of course, this was also a time when you couldn’t actually buy anything unless you had the money and to amuse ourselves we opened the door and went outside to “play”… like hide-and-seek, street hockey with a tennis ball…. you know what I mean. It frightens me what our kids are exposed to now and ya, as parents we do our best to keep them on the straight and narrow….despite the odds.

    There is an overwhelming nostalgia in this country right now for a more simple time…. I don’t know if we will ever get there again.

  9. LScott says:

    When I was a kid the only thing that was EVIL (at least in my mind) was my best friend's big brother…..but of course, this was also a time when you couldn't actually buy anything unless you had the money and to amuse ourselves we opened the door and went outside to “play”… like hide-and-seek, street hockey with a tennis ball…. you know what I mean. It frightens me what our kids are exposed to now and ya, as parents we do our best to keep them on the straight and narrow….despite the odds.

    There is an overwhelming nostalgia in this country right now for a more simple time…. I don't know if we will ever get there again.

  10. FASHOLES says:

    great post howard – as always.

    if you would like a chuckle and some intriguing market commentary of FAS & FAZ, please stop by FASHOLES.

    fasholes.blogspot.com

    as we like to say, “don’t be an a$$hole, be a FASHOLE!”

    all the best.

  11. fazhole says:

    great post howard – as always.

    if you would like a chuckle and some intriguing market commentary of FAS & FAZ, please stop by FASHOLES.

    fasholes.blogspot.com

    as we like to say, “don't be an a$$hole, be a FASHOLE!”

    all the best.

  12. ivanhoff says:

    If Facebook is like tobacco, then Internet is like alcohol. Small doses are healthy, overconsumption has negative effects. There are five basic motivators that make people buy/do things: vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, fear. Facebook is using the most powerful of them.

  13. ivanhoff says:

    If Facebook is like tobacco, then Internet is like alcohol. Small doses are healthy, overconsumption has negative effects. There are five basic motivators that make people buy/do things: vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, fear. Facebook is using the most powerful of them.

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