As Dear John letters go, "A Breakup Letter to Facebook from Eat24" is unusually charming and funny -- but it's still a huge bummer for the social network.
Last Thursday in a company blog post about its Facebook presence, web-based food-ordering service Eat24, which works with 25,000-plus restaurants in more than 1,000 U.S. cities, declared that effective tonight -- March 31 at 11:59 p.m. PT -- "we're deleting the whole thing." Over the weekend, the post went viral among marketing types; as of this writing it has 468 overwhelmingly supportive comments and more than 2,000 likes.
Among the reasons Eat24 cites for its decision:
• "Even if we could figure out your mysterious, all-knowing algorithm, it's constantly changing, so what works today might not work tomorrow. Posting something that most of our friends see is like biting into a burrito and actually getting all seven layers… never gonna happen."
• "All we do is give, and all you do is take. We give you text posts, delicious food photos, coupons, restaurant recommendations… and what do you do in return? You take them and you hide them from all our friends."
• "We made mistakes too. We actually paid for some of those annoying promoted posts. You were all like, 'Dude, you gotta try out promoted posts, It'll help you make more friends and then more people can enjoy your LOLZ.' So we tried it because we loved you. Also, YOLO... And it's true, we got a ton of new likes on our page. Look at all these new friends, we thought. There's a guy in Houston, and this guy in… Bangladesh? And this girl in… Dubai? WTF Facebook!?... Right now we're only in the U.S., so even though we love our new international friends, we'd prefer not to piss them off by showing them a photo of a delicious calzone that they can't even order."
Of course, one business leaving Facebook in a huff isn't a big deal. The bigger deal is the way that Eat24's open letter to Facebook is galvanizing its critics, many of whom have posted withering anti-Facebook comments below Eat24's post. Like this one-liner from John Doppler Schiff:
"Facebook's strategy of breaking things in order to extort money from its users has rendered it the new Myspace."
Curiously, Facebook Director of Communications Brandon McCormick decided to post too -- but instead of addressing Eat24's issues with Facebook, he dissed Eat24:
"Hey Eat24, this is Brandon over at Facebook. I was bummed to read your letter. The world is so much more complicated than when we first met -- it has changed. And we used to love your jokes about tacquitos and 420 but now they don't seem so funny. There is some serious stuff happening in the world and one of my best friends just had a baby and another one just took the best photo of his homemade cupcakes and what we have come to realize is people care about those things more than sushi porn (but if we are in the mood for it, we know where to find it Eat24!). So we are sorry that we have to part this way because we think we could still be friends -- really we do. But we totally respect you if you need some space."
So, essentially, a tech company has decided that the ROI it sees from maintaining a Facebook presence just isn't worth it anymore -- and Facebook's response is: Well, you're not so funny anymore.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.