Facebook’s Owen Van Natta has a warning, and a pitch, for magazine publishers: Don’t you dare try creating your own social network. Come work with us!
Speaking to the MPA conference this afternoon, Facebook’s chief revenue officer (for a few more weeks) said he understood why magazines would want to roll their own: It looks cool, all the kids are doing it, etc. But it will only lead to heartbreak, he promised.
“All this dialog is already happening in Facebook–millions of topics are being discussed, including those in your magazines,” he said. “Can those be moved to another Web site, like [ones run by] your magazines? I am arguing that is never going to happen.”
So what does Owen think they should do? Submit. Use Facebook. “Try it. Try it now,” he said.
We can think of one example of a mag publisher that tried to make their own social network, and failed — Conde Net’s Flip, which is now turning into a… Facebook app. But we can’t think of a magazine that’s thrived within Facebook, and Owen couldn’t point to one, either.
Another unknown: Owen’s post-Facebook plans. We asked him where he’s headed, post-Zuckerberg, and he genuinely seemed like he wasn’t sure. He did say he’s not sure he’ll stay in the consumer Internet industry, and suggested that the software business looks “increasingly interesting.”
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