If you are wondering how Facebook plans to compete with MySpace as a platform for celebrities to connect with fans look no further than the just-launched Facebook Fan Box. It is a Facebook widget bands and celebrities like Lance Armstrong can place directly on their own Websites which show their Facebook status updates, how many fans they have on Facebook, an d a”Become a Fan” button which makes you a fan through Facebook Connect. The Kings of Leon have a Facebook Fan Box on their Website.
Bands and celebrities are becoming wary of managing their relationships with fans on sites like MySpace and Facebook. Just the contact information alone is invaluable for most bands. Their online fans are their marketing armies, and smart celebrities want to control those relationships and the entire experience. The Facebook Fan Box lets them use Facebook’s ubiquitous sign-in and stream, while drawing fans to their own sites where they can centralize their online presence.
Facebook doesn’t care as long as the social connections and messaging goes through Facebook. It is more than happy to deliver its stream and extend the reach of its members’ social connections beyond Facebook proper (which is what Facebook Connect is all about). But this particular move should be appealing to those celebrities who want to take back control of their fanbase from the social networks. Of course they can connect to their sites through their Facebook Fan pages as well. But whoever gives these personality brands more power will end up winning their loyalty, and all of their fans will follow. Is this the start of a federated MySpace powered by Facebook?