To give you a little bit about myself. I’ve started 7 companies in the last 10 years: LeoSam Translations, Translation Services USA, EasyVertex, ConveyThis, Todayter, Voolkan Online Technologies and Translation Cloud. Some of them picked up while some failed. Yes, I am a serial entrepreneur and my interests vary from language localization to online dating to online job placement and so on. I’ve done it all. I’ve started experimenting with Facebook platform in 2009 when I first created an account and found a couple of friends of mine. Later on, I’ve closed my Facebook account due to privacy concerns. And later I’ve opened a brand new one. But this time for a sole purpose of making money, lots of them.
Let’s face it. The Facebook.com is a great social platform and many people are rushing into it. However, many experts lament about its potential to be a meaningful place for making money online. They say that facebook is caught up in an E-commerce Bubble and it is pretty much true. It is suitable for creating brand loyalty, but it is not suitable to drive any meaningful traffic that increases sales regardless how many “likes” or “fans” you’ve got.
So, what’s the solution? How to make money off the Facebook? I’ve asked this question myself several times. In order to find the answer, you need to understand how things work on a little deeper level. Take for example Google.com or Bing.com. Those are search engines. They find the stuff. If you search for something, they give you a list of text links that lead to the desired page. It is intent based. Meaning, you have to be looking for something, not just wandering around.
Now, look at the Facebook and other social networks such as YouTube. People don’t go there in order to search for products or services. The most people searched on Facebook ever are the names of other people who they happen to encounter throughout their lives. They usually search only when they sign up, it is only once and this is it. The rest of the searches they don’t do, the Facebook does for them. How? The Facebook “suggests” friends for them. That’s all. In the same way Youtube works. You rarely search anything there. What you end up most of the time is that the website simply shows you related videos and since you already watched something and it is related, you gladly click on them and watch some more. So, this whole process is not intent based. It is pure browsing.
No wonder marketers are angry! And they should be! Stop chewing poor users wallets in attempt to steal last pennies from them! What I’ve done is that I realized that you can’t make money off the social networks per se. You can’t force Facebook, Twitter or Youtube users to go to your website with an intent to buy something. Yes, this will never happen or will happen in marginally low quantity. What I did instead, I’ve created the world’s first truly global platform for language localization initiatives: Translation Cloud and its Facebook App. It is the fact that Facebook has 70% of users who are not living in the US. This perfectly suits my line of business since I need to employ lots of bi-lingual individuals who can perform the work. It is funny that did it quite involuntary. Should the leading online job board for freelance translators such as Proz.com not kick my ass and ban my account, I’d probably never had to build all that stuff (it wasn’t that easy and fast). I’d post the job openings at Proz and would be perfectly satisfied with lack of innovation and old way of doing business. But Proz.com did kick my ass. They blocked our company and all subsequent attempts to re-open an account. At some point, I even entertained an idea to purchase a “platinum membership” from them to redeem myself, but apparently they went on the principle and didn’t restore my membership. Bad for them!
Meet Alex, the Founder of The World’s First Language Assembly Line!
Thus, involuntarily we turned to social networks and it was a blessing in disguise. What Facebook has done for us was remarkable and I can’t be more thankful to Zuckerberg. It allowed us to tap into a huge pool of bi-lingual people never seen before. Forget about pity 10-15 thousand linguists at Proz.com. We are now talking about orders of magnitude – hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people, all perfectly qualified to do the translation job. As a language translation agency which heavily relies on outsourcing and freelancers, I couldn’t dream more. We have so many freelancers today, that should we ever lose anyone; our translation engine will never stop revving. In fact, with such amazing volumes of people, we have achieved tremendous increases in turn-around times and quality. What took us 20 days to complete before, now only takes 2 days.
So, to repeat my question again: “Is it possible to make a ton of money at Facebook?”, I would firmly answer: “Definitely Yes!”. People of Facebook are not perfect buyers, and you should not attempt to look into their wallets. However, what people of Facebook are perfectly capable of is doing little things here and there. You group these tasks into assembly line, and… BOOM! You’ve got a cool product.
That’s how I’ve become a modern version of Henry Ford. I’ve built the world’s first language translation and localization assembly line and we are changing the world here in NYC and eventually anywhere else. Thanks to Facebook. XOXOXO