Google versus the Facebook Mafia

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Google has finally done it if you subscibe to the theory that they’re competing with Facebook. They’ve rolled out their +1 button to the world in a bid to begin building on their own social signals versus the Facebook ‘Like’ button. Again, it’s really only if you subscibe to the idea that Google and Facebook are involved in an internet shoving match though.

The truth about the two giants however, is when you compare them it’s like apples and oranges. Facebook is socially geared, Google is geared for search and advertising. Facebook wants you to spend time on their site, finding those long forgotten high school friends and poking them. Google wants to help you find a result best suited to your current whims and desires and shoots you off through the inter-webs. One wants you to leave, one wants you to stay and play. The only real comparison you can draw between the two marginally would be in the advertising space and even then their ads are delivered differently. So to the compare the two as rivals would be incorrect, they’re giants on the same plane, but not competitors.

Now about the Facebook mafia, if you have any friends on Facebook, which the average is 150ish if I remember right, odds are 50% of them play a game on the site. There’s a percentage of those players as well, who use their hard earned money to purchase virtual currency to help them along in their game playing. As of July 1st however, the world of the Facebook economy will change with the introduction of Facebook Credits *only*.

Initially this may seem like a good idea as one currency allows for more expedient remedy if there is a dispute, but with only a few days left the group Consumer Watchdog has barked. Their claim, is that Facebook is flexing their muscle with these transactions by taking a 30% cut from each and every one. As an end user you may think it’s not a big deal, but think of it from the developers point of view. Facebook is basically taking each dollar they earn with the new currency, taking out 30% and handing the rest over. That’s like your employer paying you, and then taking $30 for each $100 you earn. It’s a huge tax being placed on the app developers and the Watchdog group likens it to a mafia shakedown. Developers don’t have a choice but to pony up the dough, or risk having no virtual currency at all. To expand a little on the amounts that are being seen, Farmville which is arguably Facebooks most popular game, is reaching for more than $2 billion in revenue this year. That 30% cut just became hundreds of millions of dollars going straight into the Facebook coffers.