Dalton Caldwell Gives Mark Zuckerberg the Business
I mentioned the App.net project – Dalton Caldwell’s vision of an ad-free Twitter platform  – last week. Now Caldwell is making headlines for an open letter that he posted on his blog, called “Dear Mark Zuckerberg ,” in which he recounts a meeting he had earlier this summer with several top Facebook executives.
As Caldwell describes it, he was hoping the outcome of the meeting would be “executive-level support for [his] impending product launch.” Instead, those executives informed him that the product he was developing sounded like a competitor to Facebook App Center . As you can guess, they didn’t like that. Dalton writes:
Your executives explained to me that they would hate to have to compete with the “interesting product” I had built, and that since I am a “nice guy with a good reputation” that they wanted to acquire my company to help build App Center.
Dalton explained that he wasn’t interested in an “acqui-hire .” The post goes on to call Zuckerberg out directly for allowing his company to engage in such bullying tactics:
Mark, I know for a fact that my experience was not an isolated incident. Several other startup founders & Facebook employees have told me that what I experienced was part of a systematic M&A “formula”. Your team doesn’t seem to understand that being “good negotiators” vs implying that you will destroy someone’s business built on your “open platform” are not the same thing. I know all about intimidation-based negotiation tactics: I experienced them for years while dealing with the music industry . Bad-faith negotiations  are inexcusable, and I didn’t want to believe your company would stoop this low. My mistake.
He closes by saying that Facebook has turned into a business whose financial motivations are “not in line with user and developers” – and with a dare/prophecy that if his own project doesn’t force Facebook to adapt or fail, some other platform will. Ouch! Dalton’s recent blog posts have gotten coverage in Business Insider, Forbes, TechCrunch, All Things Digital, Fox News and many other A-list pubs in the past few weeks. Was the open letter a publicity stunt? Probably. Was it ballsy? Definitely.
(Reminder/disclosure: I follow Dalton’s entrepreneurial exploits because we are old friends.)
Google Acquires Wildfire – and Zuckerberg’s Little Sister
In related news, Google acquired Wildfire this week, a social media marketing company with a platform that integrates directly with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn – and, naturally, Google+! What will become of Wildfire’s relationship with Facebook? Miranda Miller reports  that Facebook “will not be commenting at this time.”
What must sting more than the technology Google has acquired? They’ve also got their greasy mitts on Zucks’ younger sister , Arielle! His older sister Randi quipped:
Zuckerberg’s brother-in-law also works at Google. Double ouch!
More Web Marketing Highlights This Week
Need some content marketing inspiration? Search Engine Watch posts 88 ideas for better business blogging  including tips for image and video.
JD Rucker at TECHi asks if Larry Page and Sergey Brin are hypocrites  for pushing Google+ so hard but not using it themselves. Reminds me of the ex-Googler who said if Google wants to build a platform they need to eat their own dog food .
Are footer links worthless? What about microsites? John Doherty clears up some misconceptions and talks about strategies for internal linking in 2012 and beyond .
“Search is more complex than it’s ever been” – that’s Eric Covino, and we agree. His recent post on SEO Book discusses some of the complexities and barriers to entry  of the current SEO landscape.
Barry Adams introduces Index Status, a new feature in Google Webmaster Tools that he calls “a gift to SEO site auditors .”
And just for fun, these illustrations show what French artists at the turn of the 20th century thought the future would look like .
Have a good weekend, all.