Don’t build your web presence on free platforms
It’s hard to have a true internet web presence, if everything you do is on social sites. How are people supposed to figure out where to go in order to see the bulk of your work?
And if the bulk of your work does reside on social sites, or in the cloud, what happens when these social sites, or cloud operations update their platform software, or, as in some cases, close entirely, taking all of your hard earned work and effort with them.
Never trust the security of an internet web property that you don’t own outright. Crackers and Script Kiddies are constantly at the door of social websites, jumping at the slightest opportunity to take the social site, and you — down — in an instant. Owners of the social site platform may for some reason, just decide to shut it all down, or sell to someone else who would shut it all down.
Everything that you load to a social site, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest .. ceases to be your intellectual property. All of your thoughts, ideas, and good effort becomes owned, and legally, by which ever social site platform you choose to load to. None of your “stuff” belongs to you, exclusively, the second you load it to a social site.
I got an email the other day from a guy in Scranton PA wondering why I don’t post more of our direct business related materials to our Facebook Fan Page. What we do here doesn’t belong to Facebook — it never will belong to Facebook, because we aren’t going to load it to Facebook. If you are curious about what goes on here directly at ReddWebDev, then you’ll have to actually visit us I’m afraid. We don’t post our intellectual property to social sites, and neither should any of you. If we have a good idea, or a particullarly useful script, it get’s posted in this blog, and only this blog. We post a link to the idea or script on the social sites that point to to our blog. If the social site goes away, all we lose is a link and that’s it — our property remains ours.
From your personal weblog, to your art galleries — Nothing is going to be as protected, copyright wise, as hosting them on your own internet web domain. If you post a picture on your domain, and for some reason it ends up being posted to Facebook — then you can legally have it removed from that platform — because afterall, it’s yours. It doesn’t belong to anyone else but you. If you post that piece of art to a social site, it immediately becomes the property of that site, and you don’t have a leg to stand on with regard to getting it removed — they own it — because you gave it to them.
So you post a picture of your cutest little Grandson on Facebook — no harm in that really, because only you and your immediate family and friends can see it — but really, so can Facebook. Facebook, if they so desire, can use that picture you posted of your cutest little Grandson and use it in their own advertising campaigns. Not only can you “not” do anything about that, you also don’t get paid for the use of the picture, because, afterall, according to the terms of Facebook, they own it, and can do whatever they want with it.
Don’t think so? — Read on ..
“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.” ~ Facebook
In a nutshell, anything you do on Facebook, doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to Facebook. Your social web presence isn’t really yours afterall.
Years back, there were a ton of free build-it-yourself ecommerce web solutions floating around — they provided all of the back-end shopping cart programming — they provided all of the web store templates — they did it all — all you had to do was load your stuff. I watched as people poured into these things and built their stores. They poured a lot of hard work and effort into their “free” ecommerce solution, only to see all of their hard work go away as one by one, these free internet ecommerce solution sites folded. All of their hard work went right down the tubes — gone forever. A total waste of time and effort. They would have been better off if they would have done it the right way — building their own ecommerce solution on their own domain. The people that built their own, on their own platform, are still in business today, reaping the benefits of all of their hard work.
MSN Groups was another instance that for some reason, just out of the blue — went away. Whole communities were lost. Instead of people going out and building their own forums, they chose to go with MSN — all of their hard work went away as a result of Microsoft closing the doors. MSN Groups are gone, and so is all of the efforts of all of those that thought they had it going on while using the free platform.
If you are serious about establishing a solid and authoritative internet web presence, don’t start out on social media — do it on your own. Use your own registered domain. Only upon after establishing your internet web presence on your own domain, should you be wandering out into the social web to market your wares, your talents, your abilities.
Those of us that have been around a while have seen it all before. One social site platform is the same as the other, and the other, and the other. They all, for reasons unknown and certainly beyond your control, can and do shut without notice. And if notice is given, getting all of your data back can prove to be somewhat of a nightmare. When a social site shuts down, nobody wins — the biggest losers are the ones that tried to build their entire web presence on the social site platform.
From where we sit, Facebook and Google+ aren’t any different than MSN Groups. The day is going to come when these too will close their doors. And when they do, where are you going to be?
Your social initiatives are extremely important — but building your business on a platform (domain) that you own is even more important than that.
You should never use a social site as the primary hub for your business. By making your business website the center of all your online marketing activities, you can use as many external marketing entities that you want, as long as it all leads back to your “own” website.