I don't blame Zuckerberg for trying to monetize Facebook to a greater degree. Realistically, any successful website will ultimately function as a business with profit and market value driving content decisions. However, Facebook does not sell books or news, rather it creates a social gathering place for "friends." Now, this quasi-genuine interaction is at risk of becoming just another marketplace for advertisements. If I wanted that, I would turn on the TV.
Facebook's new technology will let businesses build custom-designed "pages". Users will be able to become "fans" of a company's page, 10,000 of which were launched last night.
Anything they do on the page, such as reviewing a product, would then be communicated to that user's friends and accompanied by a logo, creating "social ads". These will be auctioned, and buyers can opt to pay for impressions on the number of clicks. Mr Zuckerberg said that, by interacting with a company's Facebook page in this way, the site's users would act as "trusted referrals" for advertisers. "A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising," he said.
Facebook also announced two other related technologies. One, will track purchases users make on outside websites, and then report those to friends on Facebook.
The other, will allow advertisers to track how their social ads spread among users.
Facebook took pains to assure its users that the new technologies would continue to respect their privacy. But one analyst said there was a risk the new idea could backfire if users felt the new system violated their privacy or bombarded them with unwanted ads.
--Financial Times, November 7, 2007
Continue to be aware of the privacy issues surrounding this site and others. I feel real invasions of privacy slowly creeping into our daily lives. Don't look to Zuckerberg or the Google guys for comfort either, as their business plans are built on accessing every last drop of information.