A few months ago I tried to estimate the worth of my Facebook account. The idea was, to see how much money will I need to be offered to delete my Facebook profile and create a new one.

  • I will have to reconnect with friends (An hour of work – 30$)
  • Lose my status updates and comments (not really important – 10$)
  • Retag all my photos taken by other people (big problem – 100$)
  • Lose my standings in various games (don’t really care – 0$)

Not that much, ~140$ – The price of many software packages. That is all that would take for me to create a new facebook user or get the (presumably) same functionality somewhere else.

So if you are Facebook, and you plan to become THE social identity for ever and ever (and one day finally roll out a full P2P payment system,  put PayPal out of its misery, allow real micro-payments, p2p loans, slowly become the defacto bank for all our online transactions and finally get a revenue model that will jump you from a 10B$ to a 300B$ company). What would you do ?

The logical thing, you increase the 140$ to 1,400$.

So you introduce.. *drum roll*.. Facebook Connect !

A nifty, useful and harmless (?) feature. No more signup forms, no more poor conversion. An answer to both users and webmasters alike. I have been clicking away at the little blue button non stop, happily waving my password managers goodbye.

So wait.. about the leg

You know how you go out drinking all night and wake up the next morning feeling violated and with your leg hand-cuffed to the radiator ?

[..long story censored..]

I decided to re-evaluate my “cost to leave Facebook” price. And a new item poped up on the list:

  • Cost of losing all the information I have added on sites where I have nothing but Facebook connect – 500$ and rising rapidly.

On many sites, once you register with facebook connect, there is no way back. (Poor design? Yes! Lazy? Yes! Fact of life ? Yes!).

With every day that passes, my ties to Facebook rise across multiple sites in parallel. But with the UX failures of OpenID and no real alternative in sight.. I am doomed.

Granted it is not dire yet, not yet a time for leg chewing.. but a good time to ask, “Does anyone have the key ?”.. The radiator is getting hotter…

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