You could easily replace the above mentioned platforms with every other platform out there. Like LinkedIn or Pinterest or Twitter. Or Facebook. It doesn't matter. They are all the same.
The problem is not so much a problem for the platforms themselves. It's more of a problem for the people using these platforms, such as companies, startups, lifestyle entrepreneurs, individuals or whatever.
The problem with each and every one of these platforms is that you don't own the customer relationship. It means that you don't have control over what your fans, followers or customers are going to see.
And if you can't control what your customers or potential customers see, you're pretty much screwed. Here's the thing..
If you can't reach your followers, fans or whatever how are you going to tell them about your new product launch? About your new album. Your new book. Or your new whatever.
Whenever you sell a product on Amazon they don't tell you who bought it.
Whenever someone buys one of my books on Amazon I won't be able to see who bought it.
Whenever someone buys Dr Dre's new album, he won't see it. The same on iTunes. Or Google Play (I think).
You will never own the customer relationship. You won't have an email address or any other contact details to get back in touch with the folks who bought one of your products.
Why? Because these platforms get a cut for every digital or physical product sold.
If they gave you that person's email address or contact details you could get in touch with them directly and sell them the product without passing through one of these platforms. Which means that they won't make money.
So they have to avoid that at any price. That's why you don't own the customer relationship on these platforms.
And the same holds true for Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Producthunt or whatever.
Sure, you can add someone on the platform. But the conversation will still happen on someone else's platform. A platform you can't control.
A platform where you have to pay for reach. If you don't have to pay for reach now, you'll have to pay for reach tomorrow.
Now in the early stages of every new platform that's not a big deal. Whenever a platform isn't crowded most of your fans, followers or whatever will see almost every update you post. Without having to pay.
Because there aren't too many folks on the platform, yet. So your reach will be very high. Almost everyone will see your updates.
But what happens when a platform gets more crowded is always the same. There are too many updates, too many brand, companies and hustlers so these folks come up with super smart (I really mean super smart here) algorithms that make sure that people ONLY see the things they want to see.
Unless you pay. Then you can reach more people.
And it's always the exact same development for every platform out there. When Facebook got too crowded they introduced ads. When Twitter got too crowded they introduced ads. Pinterest got too crowded so they introduced ads (not sure if this is already available for everyone).
And that's when people start complaining.
It's always the exact same process. But people don't seem to get it. They don't seem to learn their lesson.
And the exact same thing will happen to Medium and every other platform out there. Even Producthunt will find a way to monetize their almost monopoly like power.
It's always the exact same thing.
In the beginning you can reach almost everybody on planet earth for free. Until these platforms have matured and become too crowded. Then the things that worked before don't work anymore. Then your reach goes down. And then your business will either die, you pay for reach or you jump on to the next platform.
And it doesn't matter what platform we're talking about. History repeats itself. Always. Sure, it's not always the exact same thing, but almost. It was a bit different for AdWords, but almost the same. The end result is always the same. You'll end up having to pay for reach. In one way or another.
So what do I suggest?
I suggest to "milk" each and every platform right from the very start. As fast as you can. As early as you can. And as long as you can.
Whenever everybody is raving about this new platform, whenever it feels like a gold rush is about to happen (or already happening) you need to focus on driving the folks away from these platform as fast as you can. And as many of them as you can.
You need to start owning the customer relationship.
And the only way I currently see to own the customer relationship is email. Email is still king. Email is the only technology we use today that's currently not controlled by an almost monopoly like player that can do whatever they want to.
Email is still the only channel where you can freely interact with your prospects as often and whenever you want to. Where you own the customer relationship. And no one can controls you.
Every other platform you use today is either be moderated, your posts have to be approved, you have to pay for reach or whatever.
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