Dear Mr Unicorn, please take my money

It has been a bazaar couple of weeks, which have made me wonder whether tech companies have become so obsessed with valuations and raising large amounts of venture capital at Billion dollar valuations that they are forgetting their basic purpose, which is to make money.

The basic principle of making money, is to enable your customers to hand it over to you, something that some of our favourite companies don’t seem to be currently very interested in.

It all started, when one of our Facebook advertising accounts was disabled due to ‘unusual activity’. I can only assume that the ‘unusual activity’ must have been, that we tried to pay money in exchange for advertising services? The so called Business manager offers no clarity, whatsoever and taking the recommended steps to resolve the problem (multiple times), led to nothing. The interaction with their ’support team’ was more typical of interacting with an intern, who has been thrown in the deep end on their first day. It took 5 to 7 days to get a responses to each email, which may as well have not come at all as they were completely unhelpful.

Eventually, the issue was resolved, but it took an unnecessarily long time and effort, time that I could have been spending our advertising budget on the platform. While, I appreciate that compared to some larger advertisers, we are tiny, but the question here is, how many more small companies, like us, are experiencing the same issues and what is the combined lost ad revenue due to buggy systems and incompetent support?

In contrast, our advertising budget with Google is less then a 10th of what we spend with Facebook and yet I get a call from an account manager almost monthly to ask if we need any assistance.

Around a similar time Flipboard launched a new targeted ads product. Great, I thought to myself, lets look into this, while it is still early and it’s not yet ruined by advertisers, so I went over to the Flipboard website to get some information about buying these new ads. I was simply looking for some basics, such as targeting and bidding options and available reports etc. To my surprise there was no useful information whatsoever on their site. The advertise on Flipboard link is simply a ‘mailto’ link, so I formulated an email with my questions and sent it.

It has now been 4 weeks and I am still waiting for a response, any response, even an automated one to tell me that I have been placed into some endless queue and I should patiently wait my turn, so that they can tell me how to give them some money in exchange for advertising services.

Seriously… WTF’s happened here?