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:
Think twice about building a business on a platform some other company controls. The more popular the platform is, the less compunction they’ll feel about crushing you. https://t.co/tq80kkQCVN
— Paul Graham (@paulg) December 26, 2019
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.