aNewDomain — Will Twitter join Facebook and Google in banning ads for initial coin offerings and token exchanges? That’s the gist of an as yet unconfirmed report from Sky News, which says Twitter will institute an ad ban on crypto products, projects and ICOs in the next two weeks.
Though Twitter has yet to officially confirm or deny the report, the service appears to be already banning users who promote ICOs in tweets.
If Twitter does go ahead with the ban, it will become the third big service, after Facebook and Google, to do so this year.
In late January, Facebook instituted a broad ban on crypto ads and promotions on that service and Instagram. And last week, Google announced its own wholesale ban on crypto ads, which will take effect in June. The Google announcement, together with other crypto regulation news, likely factored into steep decline in value among cryptocurrencies across the board last week and into the weekend, according to analysts.
Facebook and Google’s bans are designed to reduce an increasing number of ICO-related scams advertised there, execs from both companies have said. According to Bloomberg figures published in January, a third to half of all ICO stock sales collapse or see the funds disappear with so-called “founders,” taking investors and their cash out with them.
ICOs that promise ridiculous, unreachable returns are particularly loathsome, execs said. Remember BitConnect? That ICO promised investors a 40 percent return before going up in flames last January.
“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution,” said Google sustainable ads director Scott Spencer to CNBC last week.
Certainly, such big ad bans will avert a number of scams — or at the very least, limit the victim population.
And surely, scammers will have a much tougher time finding victims without aid from Google, Facebook and Twitter.
But the crypto ad bans on those services might also severely impact another population — those in the nascent crypto community and the ICO culture they thrive upon. Here’s how.
A return to old school
The best ICOs have always relied on some level of independent press coverage to back up their claims. But now they’ll need the press a lot more, and the planning, personnel and strategy to get there. Strategic, well thought-out PR and marketing plans to reach journalists and analysts are going to be a must.
Staffers with the experience and contacts necessary to get a story across an editor’s desk are going to more critical than ever. And the story hook now has got to be a lot more than: Look how much money we just raised.
This will be good news for most crypto efforts. But for ICO teams packed with hordes of snotty, crypto veterans who equate their new wealth with intelligence and skill, that’s one tall order. The ones that make it will be the ones with the smarts to figure out what they don’t know. They’ll hire the experienced PR and marketing strategists required to successfully reach journalists and editors with unique stories that matter.
The others? They’ll just blame Google.
In the post Facebook/Google/Twitter crypto ad world, reducing churn will be more important than it ever was. So, too, will strategic techniques for increasing loyalty. Content that directly feeds this community will need to be better planned and better executed, and that takes more than a bunch of fly-by-night crypto successes who no little about content strategy and don’t want to learn.
Those who do have a desire to learn will hire or consult with pro writers and editors to find out how to get the word out through owned content channels.
This will be a big change for all concerned. What with traditional channels for driving large volumes of people into crypto communities drying up, editorial skill, talent, strategy and (gasp!) experience is going to be critical for anyone hoping to deliver their communities the kind of information and services that’ll keep them coming back.
Telegram and other boards just got a lot more important
Once merely a second line of publicity offense, Reddit boards, Telegram groups and chat rooms just got more important. That second line of offense is now the first line, and new messaging beyond just ‘get rich quick with us!’ are going to be job one there and in every other channel, too.
Arrogance vs Service
ICO community managers are going to have to get rid of their arrogant attitudes if they want to hang onto their communities in these newly competitive environs.
Keeping communities intact in the face of a Facebook and Google free crypto ad world will be job one. The current messaging to ICO communities — that they’re lucky to even get a chance to be on the ground floor of such remarkable brilliance and economic opportunity — will soon be a mere relic of a rude and distant past.
ICOs that can’t built trust or good will among their communities will fade fast.
Once they don’t have Facebook and Google to rely on, ICO teams will a lot more than just the ability to convert a small percentage of the hordes of people they draw in from ICO ads. And as the scene gets more competitive, they will not longer be able to characterize ICOs as end-games in themselves. They’ll have to be able to communicate what the long term plan and core benefit of joining up is.
To accomplish that, smart ICO teams will need (gasp!) actual, research-based analysis and predictions, not to mention (shocker!) honest-to-god business plans.
One of the benefits of experience is a willingness and a desire to know what you don’t know. An arrogant kid will be threatened by anyone who knows something they don’t and will try to root them out.
The crypto ad ban from Facebook, Google and, reportedly, Twitter, will have the interesting side effect of separating the grownups from bratty kids, and the truly talented from the just plain lucky.
And that’s a damned good thing. For everyone.
For aNewDomain, I’m T.E. Wing.