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Facebook宣称:用我们的方式付钱,要么就请出局

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小编摘要:当Facebook开始经营起各种类型的生意时——而且它现在正对其货币使用进行授权——也许就再也不能把它看成是一家公司了,应该视其为一个国家。

As Facebook starts to host all sorts of commerce -- and is now mandating the use of its currency -- perhaps it's time to stop thinking of it as a company and start thinking of it as a country.

"The strength of a nation's currency is based on the strength of a nation's economy." Richard Nixon, circa 1971, announcing that foreign governments could no longer convert U.S. dollars into gold.

"If you're a very large company, and supporting you is going to cost us tens of millions of dollars, then we want to at least have an understanding of how you're going to use what we're doing, and that you're not going to just import the data but also contribute back to the ecosystem and make peoples' Facebook experience better." —Mark Zuckerberg, circa 2010, explaining its agreements with social game companies that bring in 30% revenue cuts to Facebook.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced that by July 1 developers that have apps on the site must make their users pay for virtual goods using Facebook's official currency, Facebook Credits. Along with Credits come fees: 30% of every credit spent goes to Facebook.

Smaller developers, of course, aren't pleased. They would rather avoid paying Facebook altogether. Facebook, meanwhile, would rather avoid being a site that confuses its users with dozens of currencies.

At first glance, the move suggests Facebook has become a monetary autocracy, forcing the companies critical to its success to use its currency, and to pay a fee for doing so. But on second thought, isn't that more or less how taxes work? As Facebook grows and starts to host all sorts of commerce, perhaps it's time to stop thinking of the social network as a company. Maybe it's best to think of it as a country.

Imagine, for a moment, that you're the central banker of a country with nearly 600 million residents. Your economy is growing quickly, and the bigger it gets, the more foreign investors are knocking at your door, trying to hawk their wares and build within your borders. Nobody knows how much your economy is actually worth -- some place the GDP at $50 billion, making it the 73rd largest economy in the world, though everyone agrees that your country will be a global force for years to come.

But there's one sector of your economy that won't fall in line. By the end of the year, it'll be worth over a billion dollars and it has proved to be sustainable even during an economic downturn. But a lot of the companies that make up the industry don't want to use the national currency. They'd rather use their own currencies and avoid a hefty 30% tax on all transactions.

But, as a wise central banker, you know that for a country to grow its economy, it needs a singular currency so the proletariat doesn't get confused. You've been able to convince the largest companies to use the national currency, but rogue stragglers remain. What do you do?

Tell them they can either use the currency or get the hell out.

It's a raw deal, but it's one the social game companies can't decline. They're trapped within Facebook for the same reason the rest of us are -- it's still the largest social media site in the world, which means it's also the most powerful. Facebook knows it can force them to pay taxes because there are no other places to earn the kind of money they'll earn within Facebook.

Facebook, already a technological and cultural hegemon, is becoming an economic one as well. A key feature of Facebook's decree is that developers can still use their own currencies; they'll just have to peg the local currency to Facebook Credits.

This, too, should sound familiar. Plenty of foundering countries peg their currencies to the dollar or Euro to help stabilize their economy and encourage trade. Two differences of note:

1. Foreign currencies get pegged to a hegemon's through a de facto process. Facebook's Credits scheme is de jure.

2. Facebook is still forcing the developers to pay taxes, something that, say, Saudi Arabia, doesn't (directly) pay to the U.S.

All of this leads us back to the 30% fee/tax, something that should also sound familiar for another tech hegemon. Apple (AAPL) has established just as strong of a hold on its app market as Facebook's, and largely for the same reasons: it has a critical mass of users, an easy payment system that users trust, and a rule that developers must agree to use Apple's storefront to sell its apps on iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Apple skips the step of translating dollars into its own specialized currency, but the mentality is the same. If a company is going to operate within our borders, they're going to pay us for the privilege.

So to understand what this means for Facebook's future, let's look to the future of Apple. Along with Facebook's announcement this week came an expected and reliable report that the next generation of iPhones will act as credit cards, using iTunes accounts to make all sorts of payments that have nothing to do with iTunes.

If iPhones become credit cards, what's to prevent Facebook from becoming PayPal? Paying friends back online; buying goods from vendors; wiring money as soon as it's needed. That's PayPal, but there's no reason it can't become Facebook, and there's no reason Facebook, with its social features, wouldn't be a better at it.

For that to happen, Facebook Credits has to reach a critical mass. And the only way for Facebook to ensure that happens? By getting its citizens to adopt its currency.



“一国货币的实力乃基于一国经济的实力。”理查德•尼克松,约1971年,当时宣布外国政府不再能将美元兑换为黄金。


“如果你是一家很大的公司,支持你将让我们花上数千万美元,那么,我们至少想弄明白,你准备怎么用我们正在做的东西,你不能只是导入数据,也得回馈这个生态系统,让人们在Facebook上的体验更好。”——马克•扎克伯格,约2010年,这番话是解释Facebook与一些社交游戏公司签约一事的,该协议为Facebook带来了30%的提成。

上周早些时候,Facebook宣布,到了今年7月1日,凡是在网站上拥有应用程序的开发者必须让其用户使用Facebook的通用货币——Facebook信用币购买虚拟物品。使用这一货币的费用为:用户每笔花费Facebook要提成30%。

当然,规模较小的开发者就不那么乐意了。他们宁可一个子儿也不付给Facebook。与此同时,Facebook也宁可避免成为一个用多种货币把用户弄糊涂的网站。

乍看之下,这一举措意味着Facebook已经变成一个货币独裁政体了,它迫使那些对其成功至关重要的公司使用其货币,并为此支付费用。但转念一想,这种做法是不是多多少少有点像税收机制呢?随着Facebook壮大起来并开始经营各种生意,或许是时候不再把这个社交网络视为一家公司了。也许最好是把它看成一个国家。

现在就请想象一下,你是一个拥有6亿居民的国家的央行行长。贵国经济正在高速增长,经济规模越大,就有越多的外国投资者来敲门示好,试图兜售货物并在贵国境内大兴土木。尽管所有人都认同,贵国在未来数年内将成为全球举足轻重的经济体,但是没人知道,贵国经济到底价值几何——有些人将贵国GDP估为500亿美元,是世界上第73大经济体。

不过,贵国经济有一个行业与增长步调不尽一致。到今年年底,它的规模将超过10亿美元,并且,即使是处于经济低迷时期,它也已证明自己能够持续增长。可是,该行业的许多公司不想用本国货币。它们宁可用自己的货币,并规避对所有交易征收的高达30%的税费。

但是,作为一个明智的央行行长,你知道一个国家要使经济增长,就需要统一货币,以使普罗大众不会产生困惑。你已说服那些规模最大的公司使用本国货币了,但是不守规矩的公司依然故我。这下你该怎么办呢?

告诉它们,要么就用本国货币,要么,就彻底出局。

这是桩不公平交易,但是,这也是众多社交游戏公司无法拒绝的交易。它们深陷Facebook而难以自拔,原因和我们一样——这仍然是世界上最大的社交媒体网站,这意味着,它也是最有势力的。Facebook很清楚,它可以迫使这些公司上税,因为再也没有其他地方能让它们像在Facebook上一样挣钱了。

Facebook已经是技术与文化的霸主了,还正在成为经济霸主。Facebook条款的一个主要特点是,开发者仍然可以用自己的货币,只是他们必须将其货币与Facebook信用币绑定。

这种做法应该也有点耳熟。很多经济不景气的国家都将本国货币与美元或欧元绑定,以帮助稳定本国经济并促进贸易。但有两点不同值得注意:

1. 外国货币通过事实性程序与大国货币绑定。Facebook的信用币体制是原则性的。

2. Facebook还是在迫使开发者交税,而这是,比如说沙特阿拉伯不会直接付给美国的费用。

所有这些都让我们回到了30%的费用/税负上,对另一个技术霸主来说,这应该也是耳熟能详的做法。对其应用程序市场来说,苹果公司早已建立起与Facebook一样严格的控制,原因也几乎如出一辙:它拥有大量用户,一套用户信任的便捷的支付系统,以及一套开发者必须同意用苹果专卖店在iPhone,iPod和iPad上销售其应用程序的规定。苹果公司跳过了将美元转变成自己专用货币的这一步,但是精神实质并无二致:如果一个公司要在我们的疆界里经营,它就得为这一特惠权埋单。

因此,要理解这种做法对Facebook的未来意味着什么,我们可以展望一下苹果公司的未来。上周,与Facebook的通告同步而来的是一则意料之中又真实可信的报道。该报道称,下一代iPhone将可作为信用卡使用,用iTunes的账户就能支付各种与iTunes毫无关系的费用。

如果iPhone变成了信用卡,有什么能阻止Facebook变成贝宝(PayPal)呢?在线还朋友的钱;从零售商那儿购物;必要时汇款。这就是Paypal,而没有理由认为它不能变成Facebook,也没有理由认为,Facebook以其社交网络的特性,不会在这方面做得更好。

要使这一天变为现实,Facebook信用币就得有足够多的用户数。而Facebook能确保这一天到来的唯一途径是?让其用户采用其货币。
标签:Facebook
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2011-02-05 17:19 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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