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Thou Shalt Not Censor (The First Law of Coopetition)

A couple of years ago, I commented on Amazon imposing a form of censorship upon Kindle users. That post did its job; aside from entertaining and informing, it boosted our search engine optimization for the long-tail marketing phrase “kindle censorship”.

Censorship’s become an occasionally-recurrent theme here, but it was just today that I realized there was a connection between censorship and another favorite theme—coopetition.

Thanks to our friends at Facebook, I just realized that the number one enemy of coopetition is something that has no place in your business change plans.

Yep. It’s censorship.

According to ReadWriteWeb,  Facebook isn’t allowing advertisements for Google+ accounts. I’ve run a simple experiemnt and it appears that Facebook’s ban of links back to Google+ is not all-encompassing; as you can see, I’ve successfully posted a link from my Facebook account to my Google+ account:

Google+ on Facebook

I’m not sure that link will stay on Facebook, by the way, but I think it might; there’s a difference between me telling my Facebook friends that they can find me elsewhere as well, and broadcasting that information to random people. I expect that Facebook banning Google+ advertisements is a matter of them reading what they push out to the world and setting standards for that information—and not about completely banning links to plus.google.com from anywhere on Facebook.

Now let’s be clear: Facebook has the absolute right to dictate the manner in which their service is delivered. But hey: you can now find advertisements for one television channel on competitive channels and one cable delivery service on another. Is Facebook really so naive as to believe that they can keep people off Google+ by refusing advertisements for it?

Probably not. I’ve been critical of Mark Zuckerberg’s immature management and presentations skills, but there are enough very smart people working at Facebook that this really just can’t be about naivete. It’s simpler than that; Facebook is scared of Google+.

Business coaches will tell you that working from fear is counterproductive. You work from your strengths. Imagine how silly it was for Gizmodo to believe I was any sort of threat to them. Think about how ridiculous it is for Twitter to try and exert ownership of your words.

Google+ is still in its infancy, and I told you enough about them last week. Facebook, though, isn’t a start-up at this point in any sense of the word. And even if they were—and since they’re Facebook, especially then—working from fear and trying to squash coopetition simply makes no sense.

Like Facebook, you need to embrace business change. Need help with that? Contact The Answer Guy!

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  1. Microsoft's SkyDrive and Censorship (Nudity! Pornography!) - [...] business change. I’ve talked about it several times since; in general I believe that “Thou Shalt Not Censor” is the …

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