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Universal Login: Facebook's Strategic Failure

By
Tony Scherba
-
September 27, 2012

I just signed up for a new app I was testing out as an early adopter. Throughout my life as an internet citizen I've always been up for trying out the latest and greatest but I've generally been cautious about one thing. I don't give my contact information out freely (yes call me old fashioned).

Nobody I know actually gives out, absolutely freely, their contact info. Even the people that do, don't really because they get contacted so much they generally end up becoming overwhelmed while ignoring most of their correspondence. For this reason almost everyone I know has that one email address that they sign up for everything with and never check since it's so full of advertisements and junk (go ahead send an email to tonytown77@yahoo.com, you'll end up with all the daily deal emails I never read).

A couple years ago now facebook decided that they wanted to become the universal login for the internet. I'm sure they didn't expect it (or want it) but they've slowly turned themselves into that email account that people use to sign up but never check. I sign up for a couple apps a week, and since facebook has become so universal (and required) I'm pretty much forced to allow it to access my information. My "friends" are doing the same thing, and the result is it is becoming an inbox (wall) full of advertisements for things I really don't care about.

Just like ten years ago when I slowly moved myself off tonytown77@yahoo.com, I'm doing the same thing with my facebook account and most everybody else I know is doing so as well. As Mark and Co are being beaten into the ground about mobile advertising, they are loading up my "inbox" with ads. Fact: the first 5 stories on my feed right now are advertisements. This is not meaningful correspondence and something I'm not at all interested in checking on a regular basis.

Hindsight is 20/20 but universal login was a horrible idea for a company whose focus is on "not being boring" and in turn reduces it down to a junk mail inbox. Soon enough all somebody will have to do is come up with a social network that has a better spam filter.

Tony Scherba is a CEO + Founding Partner at Yeti. Tony has been developing software since high school and has worked on digital products for global brands such as Google, MIT, Qualcomm, Hershey’s, Britney Spears and Harmon/Kardon. Tony’s writing about innovation and technology has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post and Inc. At Yeti, Tony works on strategy, product design and day to day operations, hopping in and working with the development teams when needed. Follow Tony on Twitter.

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