The platform

Reading through this little slice of epic win again, I realized that Facebook Connect was pretty much an accessory to the crime here. (Nickel version: older Internet users looking for the Facebook login page Googled “facebook login,” a query which, at the time, returned the above blog post as the first search result. Hilarity ensues when they fail to realize that the Google search bar is sometimes not a magic navigational tool for getting where you want to go on the Web.)

My guess is that any doubt these people had that they were on the “real” Facebook was dispelled by the “Sign in with Facebook” at the bottom of the page. It’s ironic that as it gets easier and easier to do stuff on the Web, it also gets more and more confusing how all the pieces of the Web fit together behind the scenes. I mean, I get what Facebook Connect does, and with a little thought can have an idea of how it works, but it’s definitely not immediately intuitive why Facebook really cares about being a universal login platform for blog comments. This is a marketing challenge for all similar platforms – your core products are pretty much intuitively understood, but your products that are more advanced and strategic are completely inscrutable to the average user.

Related thought: out of all the value that Tim Berners-Lee’s great invention has brought to the world, what percentage of the overall revenue generated has been the result of user ignorance? Not easy to define “ignorance” here, but I think we have to at least count most of MSN’s pre-Bing revenue – would anybody at the time really be using MSN if they understood that Google or Yahoo existed? This kind of thing is more tenuous…I’m unsure where the line is between “money obtained as a result of user ignorance” and outright fraud.

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