Peril of Building a Business on Another Company’s Platform

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A response I have come to see regularly in a domain name sales negotiation is that the prospect is content building the business on Facebook, Instagram, or another social media platform. Because they had some success building a following (and possibly a business) via social media channels, some business operators seem content continuing down that path, building a business on a third party platform.

A tweet yesterday evening from Y Combinator founder and venture capitalist Paul Graham should serve as a bit of a warning to companies who build their businesses on third party platforms:

Graham’s tweet yesterday was in response to someone’s plea with YouTube about the removal of over 100 videos from his YouTube channel. Apparently, this was done without warning, and there is not much recourse either.

Businesses can be hard hit when a social media company or other third party platform makes an arbitrary decision to remove content or even shut down an account. This action can cause lost revenue or even the complete closure of a business if the impact is long-term or widespread.

Building a business on a domain name that is owned or leased by the company is a safer way to proceed. When the business owns its domain name, they do not have to worry about a social media company removing content or arbitrarily applying rules without making it easy to contact support. If a hosting company were to remove content due to a copyright claim, for example, most of these companies have customer service departments to help address in short order. Should a resolution not be reached, the business can pretty easily migrate to another hosting provider.

There are, of course, some downsides to operating an independent business on its own domain name. There are more considerations to make (CMS / platform), hosting providers, security, web design, and other issues that come with operating a business. However, these are relatively easy to overcome with less downside.

Social media companies can help a business reach an audience and build a following more quickly. I like to use social media in conjunction with my operating websites rather than using them as the foundation for my website.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Yup, some losers in a chat room reported my website lifesavings.online to facebook for being ABUSIVE – while I point out OTHERS ‘ACTUAL’ abuse with screenshots and citations as proof.

    Happened some time ago, I noticed, didn’t care, but now I do. Have to file an appeal…good luck. Lots of little sheep that will flock and report just ‘because’, basically. BABY moderators everywhere!

    Ppl just LOVE to feel like they have some ‘power’ by being a tattle. I’m sure the youtube channel was ‘tattled’ on by an organized group of internet terrorists / baby moderators AKA: overall losers with no meaningful life of their own.

  2. Dudh…we domain Experts or Professionals knew that issue long ago,never never ever depend on other platforms that you can’t control.
    Damn,stocks all up 1000% and that Tesla is the King.

    • Snoopy and I don’t always see snout to eye, but that is DEFINITELY one of the ways to implement de facto censorship and suppression. And no doubt the billionaire Republicans and other fat cats seeking to take over .org are aware of that. Hopefully the sheep being led to slaughter of all persuasions are sufficiently aware too.

    • Increasing annual renewal fee from $15 to $20 or even $30 would never deplatform a business. Please desist from making bogus claims toward new tlds.

          • .juegos and .hosting went up to more than $300 p.a. from $10 and $20 retail.

            16 out of 27 Uni TLD’s were hiked.
            Waste of time.

          • Thanks for the info. It seems to me that the price hikes is a way to ensure that those TLDs are used by real, formal business rather than by individuals and domain investors. So in my opinion, their decision is understandable, though it would have been a lot better if they made the decision at the very beginning of launching the TLDs.

            And I think only individuals and some domain investors would be “deplatformed” by the price hikes. I have seen a PC game studio registering and starting using a .game domain name earlier this year for their upcoming game, and they apparently have no problems paying $399 a year for that domain name.

          • Has nothing to do with that Ethan, it was about trying to run things more profitably in light of numbers way under expectations.

    • perhaps why Alt2Facebook.com, Alt2Amazon.com, At2G.com are getting recent increased whois searches ?

      Alt2 domains such as these could provide effective vehicles for leadgen to sites that offer services that may compete with the platforms that are under scrutiny for their anti-competitive behavior

      Disclosure: As owner of above URL’s and others like them, and as a former FTC staff member in Div of Natl Advertising, currently have a petition filed at FTC to affirm that Atl2FB.com and related such URL’s fall within the scope of the FTC’s Comparative Advertising Policy Statement of 1979.

    • Censorship and suppression?

      Huh?

      Please explain. I almost never delete or prevent a comment from showing with the exception of spam. I wouldn’t allow threats either, but I don’t even recall the last time I had to deal with an issue of that kind.

      • You must not have read my reply above to my canine usual nemesis Snoopy. If you had I don’t see how you could ask or have any doubt. Thought I did an effectively nice job of highly communicative conciseness and well intended terseness if I can say so myself.

        Funny though – “please explain” ay? I just confronted a friend of mine recently whose favorite character and actor on Breaking Bad was the guy behind Gus Fring. So I chewed him out in my signature benevolent style and told him to “explain yourself” as his beloved Gus Fring would say. Not for my sake though, but for his own and regarding dealing with a terrible psychopath he’s been dealing with. Long story, not good.

        As for censorship and suppression, money and income is one of the primary means YouTube/Google/Alphabet is engaging in that. That’s also in part what barbaric economic “sanctions” are about. And that is one of the horrible risks associated with removing price caps on legacy TLDs and especially .org.

    • Just FYI, the site is having some technical issues after downloading the latest theme version. A couple of the homepage banners are not showing up correctly. My developer may have to revert to a Vaultpress back up from 12/25. The reason I am mentioning this is because todays posts and comments could be wiped. Ironic given your comment, but I wanted to point that out in advance just in case.

      I am hopeful he can figure out the issue without having to go to the back up, or he can just back up the theme and not touch the content databases.

  3. This is not any new topic for online businesses and content creators…

    it is pure fact that any change in algorithm or rules by other platforms will impact in their ranking and that damages customer/audience reachability.

    YouTube, Amazon, Shopify and Etsy etc are powered by their business / content owners…yet they need their own site to be safe and get to customers out side of those platforms…

    this is very important to either strive / survive their businesses.

    Thanks,
    Ravi

    • Kit.com was basically a business failure situation. Wasn’t worth making more payments, if they had bought the domain instead it would have just amplified the amount of money lost.

    • If someone leases a domain name, they can be contractually protected (indefinitely) and the domain name should be held by a third party to enforce the contract.

      For instance, among other things, the leaseholder should be able to renew the lease indefinitely (perhaps at annually inflating rates).

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