Facebook kills a website

Not sure if you saw this story, but it was on Business Insider…

Facebook’s algorithm has wiped out a once flourishing digital publisher

The headline gives the summary. It is a publisher called LittleThings.com that was just decimated by Facebook’s recent algorithm change.

This is the big change that came with Zuckerburg’s little “come to Jesus” moment about the effect of Facebook on the world. Then, they announced that they would be prioritizing updates from family/friends and reducing the visibility of passive content – typically from web publishers.

This resulted in a 75% hit in traffic for LittleThings.com. Dayum, that’s alot.

LittleThings had built a massive presence on Facebook and had come to depend on it. They had over 12 million followers. They routinely did videos and LIVE videos that got thousands – sometimes millions – of views. By all publishing standards, they were a juggernaut.

But, perhaps you already see the problem…

It was all on Facebook.

They didn’t own it.

It was rented land. Hell… not even rented since they weren’t paying for it.

They built their whole presence on somebody else’s platform.

And when I go to their website (which is still online, for now), it is clear they’re trying to be a media company. The most obvious call to action is to “Share on Facebook”. I see a few ads. What I don’t see is…

An email opt-in.

Well, stuffed up in the corner behind a tiny little icon is an option to subscribe to free updates. Which, quite frankly, is the stupidest, and most hidden, email list building tactic I’ve seen.

So, the lesson here is obvious…

Don’t try to build your business on land you don’t OWN. Do not rely on social networks. Instead, build your own community – preferably via email.

If LittleThings had been focusing on their email list and not on their Facebook followers, they’d be fine right now and not shutting down.

Perhaps if LittleThings had read this guide, they’d be OK…

Ultimate Guide To Building An Email List: List Building That Works And Makes You Money

OK, perhaps that’s a bit harsh (but true 😉 )

– David