1. Social Media

Facebook Social Ads Need an Opt-Out

Lately I’ve been seeing far more ads on Facebook supported by implicit endorsements from friends. I’ve also had other friends share screenshots of ads and applications that I endorse. While Facebook did an admirable job mitigating the Beacon controversy, the debate about its Social Ads is far from over, and Facebook clearly isn’t yet giving enough control to its users.

Consider this ad that appeared in the left-hand ad space on friend Jeremiah Owyang‘s profile page, which he then sent to me:Facebook_endorsement_1_3

Yes, about a month ago I did sign up as a fan of Blockbuster’s Facebook page. Yet I never told Blockbuster that it could use me to endorse its ads. I’m not a user of Blockbuster Total Access. In fact, as I write this, I’m home sick, I don’t have any good Netflix movies here, and there’s nothing but garbage on pay-per-view On-Demand or HBO On-Demand, so I even looked up Blockbuster to see if there’s one near my apartment, and the closest is ten blocks away (others that were closer have shut down since I last checked). If anything, I’m a little pissy with Blockbuster right now, so I’m surely not going to provide a testimonial for their ad campaign.

So what’s the next logical step? I tried to opt out of the advertising. Of course, I can’t. The only setting I can change says, "Allow Blockbuster to send Updates to the Updates tab of my Facebook Inbox" – in other words, I can opt in or out of Blockbuster messaging through Facebook. How come I can’t opt into or out of its ad campaign? Here’s the screen shot of the settings on Blockbuster:
Facebook_endorsement_2

This doesn’t just revolve around pages. Jan Van den Bergh also sent me a screenshot of how I provided this kind of endorsement for an application being advertised, and not even one of the apps I’m particularly fond of. I wonder what else I’m endorsing. Facebook, this isn’t over.

UPDATE:

Below is another example of such an ad, and in this one the member is inadvertently promoting Jackass, which may or may not be his cup of tea. Added irony: The ad appeared when I was writing someone from MoveOn.org about this issue. So much irony it’s oozing out of every orifice: The member whose identity I’ve hidden works for Facebook. You can’t make this stuff up.

Facebook_blockbuster_jackass_dec_07

People reacted to this story.
Show comments Hide comments
Comments to: Facebook Social Ads Need an Opt-Out
  • December 20, 2007

    Your patience just astounds me. I honestly…and no, I’m not being dramatic…thought you had mocked-up that ad up there with you being on display as a sales agent.
    Seriously, I have no way of “seeing” over there, is that what they really post with your pic?
    Appreciate so much that you keep me/us so informed. Thanks and sorry you’re sick. (since you just got hitched, maybe you’re lovesick!)

    Reply
  • December 20, 2007

    Well, you did sign up to the Blockbuster fan page.

    Reply
  • December 20, 2007

    William: yes, I did sign up as a fan, but there’s a huge leap from becoming a fan, even if that’s a public declaration, and being included in their ad campaign.

    Reply
  • December 20, 2007

    Wow.
    I have yet to hear any GOOD press about how Facebook is handling it’s ads, data mining and revenue building.
    I signed up for a FB a long time before it got ‘hip’ because I was teaching college and was curious what all of my programming students were spending time on… but I never did more than create a login and put my name in the profile… no other info.
    So I felt relieved when I could ‘suspend’ the account without worrying that they were retaining data I didn’t wish them to possess.
    As a huge advocate of Internet and Data Privacy and maintaining control over my own information, I find FB appalling.
    This is yet one more reason on the list of ‘why I believe FB will implode as soon as a better competitor comes along.’

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    That is unreal!
    Thanks for sharing. I will think twice before signing up to be a fan of anything. I generally only do so as research, but now I may not even do that.
    A

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    They have an opt out…it’s called deactivating your account.
    It’s a free service, so if you don’t want to use it then don’t.
    People are freaking out over nothing. All your friends would already know that you signed up for the blockbuster page anyway…who cares if it gets added to an ad? And you did endorse them by being a fan…what do you think being a fan means?
    Get over it.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Alana: Yeah, I did deactivate my account weeks ago, so that one doesn’t work on me. But thank you for telling us to get over it. Your opinion is valid; it’s just your tone. Obviously, people aren’t done discussing it; so sorry that’s an inconvenience for you. But I’ll give you your own sage advice: get over it.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Can you imagine EVER telling your customers to “Get over it”? Cuz Alana just did.
    And yet marketers do it every day, just as Alana advises up there. It’s true. She’s right.
    And that is what is SO WRONG with our industry.
    “You’ll watch these ads and have your mug pasted anywhere we see fit cuz it’s free content…get over it.”
    I’ll do a post on this soon–very good convo. Thanks for (unfortunately) validating what I’ve been saying.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    I will say that “Just Get Over It” should have been the official motto of the Bush Administration. Would have been more honest, one could say authentic.
    Patriot Act? Just get over it, cuz in return you’re getting a free country.
    More unnecessary war? Just get over it, cuz those countries are getting our military for free.
    Sorry that was off-topic. I came at that from a purely marketing mindset.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    @CK
    I agree that Alana either doesn’t have a clue, or isn’t old enough to own one.
    But C’mon. You can’t pin the spirit behind http://JustGetOverIt.org on the GOP. Besides, http://MoveOn.org is so much shorter to type.
    No party has a monopoly on “Nothing to see here!”

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    @Ike: Actually, I find Alana’s opinion highly valid and relevant. It’s honestly the way people feel. Glad she said it. Glad I never would.
    My concern is that as marketers we shouldn’t be…as in ZERO-tolerance for…telling customers to get over it. The mindset of “it’s free, so deal!” should NEVER be. It ain’t savvy, that’s street.
    Marketing is value creation. Not, create value and then use your customers as selling agents.
    But many do it every day. They just don’t use those words but it’s in their actions.
    We are, once again, handed precedent-setting times. I think we’re lucky to be at the forefront. I also see responsibility not to massacre the biz and to always remember that, without loyal customers, we got nothin’.
    Many don’t agree with me. But my focus is the customer–as the root of marketing is, in fact ‘market’– and that’s just who I am and how I roll. Loud and proud, baby.
    PS: sorry to blab so much David. I love your blog.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    We have no beef. The Alana’s of the world need to be heard, just so we know how many there are.
    Also, it makes them easier to weed out of communications positions.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    @William You are correct, but when one signs up to be a “friend” is one told that they’re head shots will begin appearing throughout Facebook with implicit endorsements.
    @Alana You too are correct, in a way. But, as CK points out, “if you don’t like it, just leave” is not good marketing strategy.
    I guess the customer is not in control after all.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Apologies for my tone earlier…you’re right, that was inappropriate.
    But back to my earlier point – and just to reiterate to make sure people understand how facebook works: ever since they added the feeds to the site last year (which was a whole firestorm for those of you who used the site but one which everyone quickly “got over”), these sorts of endorsements have already been broadcasted around the site.
    Tacking an add onto the line “John Smith is a fan of Blockbuster” is new. But broadcasting “John Smith is a fan of Blockbuster” is not new. It’s been that way for over a year and no one really bats an eyelash at it anymore.
    So I think this is something that people are more comfortable with than you realize, it’s just gonna take time. I don’t know if tacking an ad onto the line above really changes it. And maybe they should add an opt out. But this sort of endorsement going on here is just a mild twist on something that was already in place.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Here’s the thing; David became a fan- yes- but he did not expect that his “endorsement” would lead to being used in advertising. I do believe that constitutes a violation of his trust. Trust is a biggie… a real biggie. As marketers, we rely on creating trust (as well as value- CK ;-)) with our end users- our communities. Without trust, we are left with little else. Facebook is eroding that trust with people all the time. Still, I dare say I like Facebook better than MySpace. (Not that it is hard to beat MySpace, in my opinion.)
    Alana’s “get over it” does illustrate a point that needs to be recognized- in the world of social networking, “get over it” seems to be a constant and pervasive mentality. I’m frequently surprised by the creating of value in new networking tools and the building of a fan base, only to have that stripped away as it all becomes monetized. I know this may sound corny, but I got two new notices on Twitter last night that my Twitter was now being followed by FredThompson32 and MittRomney45. Now the campaigns are on Twitter and they are showing up as followers of mine? Ok… follow this; I’m a devout wackjob Democrat (read uber liberal) and I want our country back in the hands of the people and not the politicians who are owned by special interest. Something tells me they are going to “follow” that.
    The sad reality though, in my opinion, is that there is widespread acceptance of “get over it” when it comes to things like this. Look at Blogger and the way they keep stripping away “freedoms”. Facebook is just another in a growing list. I am still going to fight the good fight and try to do my part to effect positive changes, but those of us who do (as in politics) are outnumbered greatly by those who don’t care- for whatever reason/s.
    And David- sorry for my ramble and sorry you got used by Facebook. Sucks brother, but we’ll all work with you to “get over it” somehow.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Alana: People are far from done discussing this. Just understand that we’re far from “settled” with it, k?
    David Berkowitz, whom I’ve known for years, is a smart, sensitive person. And one of the best in the biz.
    That is to say, he is not some idiot sitting atop a DVD rental-joint banner.
    I have a real problem–not with you, Alana, as you validated what I’ve been saying–but with more marketers not seeing the problem with this abuse.
    My strategy is to create enough value that customers WANT to create their OWN fan group. I don’t plaster them on banners. We differ widely on our opinions. But I hope you understand fully where it is I’m coming from. (as I’m a strong believer in it, just check out my blog’s…I’m consistent over 400 posts)

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    @Tim: what a terrific and really cogent POV. Yes, Google is the grinch that stole x-mas as many of us can’t comment on blogger blogs now.
    Just wanted to thank you for the examples above. I’ll never get over it, bro. But then, I’m just not that girl that goes gently into that goodnight. But it all comes from a good place (our markets).

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    You want to know what is really tragic?
    I *am* a fan of Blockbuster, converted by a single act of amazing customer service a few months ago.
    If Blockbuster had in fact been monitoring the blogosphere, they would have quickly picked up on my well-tagged post. Since that day, there has been a running clock in my sidebar.
    It appears as though Blockbuster’s only foray into Social Media is stealing the endorsement of Facebook users instead of looking for genuine ones.
    I realize I have a tiny readership. But as it turns out, most of them are key PR and marketing influencers. I “got over it” a long time ago. Will Blockbuster still be around to “get over it”?

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    “So I think this is something that people are more comfortable with than you realize, it’s just gonna take time.”
    The thing is: WE should NOT be comfy with it. People, as in users who aren’t marketers, may not understand it (hell, entire govt’s formed on keeping people ignorant). But we as marketers do get it.
    And this abuse should never be allowed. Do we really expect teenagers to get this stuff? Or innocent consumers who are new to tech?
    And ‘needing time’ as a solution is not a solution. It’s just a manipulative strategy to get people to accept things. (like, duh)
    How is it that this is so clear to me? (And so clearly wrong to users)

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    “It appears as though Blockbuster’s only foray into Social Media is stealing the endorsement of Facebook users instead of looking for genuine ones.”
    You speak the sad, sad truth.
    Make no mistake kids: THIS is what companies are learning. Not even their fault…they just aren’t learning the “right” way.
    Oh, wait, from where does the responsibility lie to teach them the right way? FROM MARKETERS. Plain and simple.
    That’s why we can’t just accept with time and get over it. Cuz, like, wow!, now with social media, we have a voice. Let’s use it for making good on that so-called promise to customers.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    @David and CK
    I am still “on” Facebook. I got most of my value within two weeks, as long-lost friends found me. I quickly got perturbed with the implicit peer pressure to have a Wall, a Fun Wall, a MegaWall, and a Super Wall. Now I have a message telling people I will not check Facebook with any regularity at all. And I don’t.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Ya know, David Berkowitz has been a long-time friend of mine. A colleague that I can count on to review and edit an important article of mine before it gets published. He’s done it many times over the years. Genuinely gives me his time and smarts. For free, we’re pals and happy to do that for one another.
    And then I see some marketers plastering his face above a dvd rental-joint banner. When in fact DB is like “thinktank material” (just trust me that he’s super smart). I feel they’ve disrespected customers, as well as a friend of mine. See?
    Matt D. said he wasn’t sure on my angle of ‘manufacturing WOM’ but I feel this is all it is, along with making David a selling agent.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    CK —
    That’s not “manufacturing WOM”. That’s “manufacturing WOR”.
    “Word of mouth” implies that David had a say in the matter.
    “Word of reputation” is a better description of the FB/BB effort. They were trading on his reputation with his friends, not an actual intentional utterance.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    You speak divine truth, Ike. “WOR”
    Ugh.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Hey David,
    Do me a favor — join the fan group for my blog. I want to whip up some ads and apparently — you’ve got some draw. If you’re good enough for Blockbuster…you are good enough for me! 🙂
    So….we agree that this is wrong. (except for my blog’s ad needs). The question is…what are we going to do about it? With all due respect to my dear friend who I adore (yes, you CK) I don’t think quitting in the answer. We can’t affect change from the outside.
    And there are lots of good and fun reasons to be there.
    So how do we, as members of the community, change this? After all…isn’t that what we’ve been saying social media can do?
    Drew

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Drew:
    Drew, I am sooo glad you brought this up. Change can happen–and does happen–from the outside. Lots of new categories, new networks, new offerings pop-up every day…so long as there’s a market for them.
    And how do the new co’s see there’s a market for them? By listening/analysis. Honestly, the more posts that cogently discuss this backlash…like this one, the better a chance of a new network, or alternative, popping up. Or FB standing down.
    I now have 4 posts on FB and a zillion comments. And I have so many more emailing me to say their usage is down (not becuz of me, because they’re authentically miffed by FB’s practices).
    While I cannot be certain (as much is off my radar/so much happens), I haven’t seen another blogger-outreach program like Nikon D80 in a while. But I have seen excellent BRPs from Sci-Fi and CNN. I’ve also seen a lot of agencies coming out with better ways to pitch bloggers. Many sure suck at it, sure. But many are actually focusing on it.
    So I say more are listening (the majority still is not, I know).
    I think change has happened from the “outside” a lot. Trends actually start on the fringes/outside. That said, I’m still very much inside this community, even tho’ I’m off FB (but with my endless yammering you know that ;-).

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    This is one place where I still do agree with Drew. As of now, you can join Facebook and not befriend any pages or apps and then not get sucked into the ad system while still taking part in the community. But I’m also with CK in that change happens from the outside all the time. Heck, MoveOn’s PR front against Beacon was largely an outsider’s move, even though they then created a Facebook group to anchor it.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    hasn’t every change happened from the outside? when people no longer find a certain way tenable they do all sorts of things on the periphary: they petition, protest, boycott, blog, lobby, revolt, or strike. (Or start a publicity campaign or scandal)
    In any case, they speak up and then organize around it.
    I’m trying to speak up, I’m trying to make a good case for better practices. I’m holding a healthy level of communications on my blog and others. And I am boycotting FB. Otherwise, I’m creating content on my blog several days a week where I promote best practices via good examples and bad ones. I’m very open to other ideas–let me hear ’em. So long as they don’t involve my being a selling agent or sitting atop a banner, I’m game folks!

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Great discussion, everyone. I think the fundamental issue is simply this:
    Don’t get in our way.
    Create a useful app, give people the tools they need to connect, and then back off. WAY off.
    In the world of social networks, there’s a fine line between helpfulness and intrusiveness. Facebook crossed over to the wrong side of that line, and they’re certainly paying the price.
    So how do we change things for the better? Keep speaking up. Keep raising the bar. And keep providing better solutions.
    We often forget how young this space really is. It ages quickly, but nevertheless, it’s still in a significant growth phase. There’s no time like the present to set the record straight and show companies how they ought to behave. After all, the ones who are listening (and willing to change) are probably the ones we’ll flock to anyway.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    Actually I agree with most of what Alana said, though her tone was a bit harsh. This is a big reason why I haven’t become ‘fans’ of any companies/brands/products.
    And as she said, this is a free service. The best way to affect change, is to have discussions like this, and leave the service if you don’t like it, as CK did.
    This is what I meant by applying a Web 1.0 mentality to a Web 2.0 site. Communities don’t form around the idea of being monetized. Best to provide value FIRST, then you’ll get monetization as an INDIRECT result.
    Facebook doesn’t get this because Zuckerberg is acting like Facebook’s CEO, not a member of the Facebook community.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    This is all fair game – it’s a marketing blog after all.
    I for one still find enough value to Facebook that I want to stay a member, but as a member of that community, I also want my voice to be heard and want members to decide whether they’re comfortable being promotional vehicles. And those like CK who have chosen to opt out of Facebook entirely should be heard as well so FB knows why some aren’t hopping on the bandwagon.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2007

    David — This is a great thread. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I think there are a couple of things you could take away from this.
    Facebook may just be a marketing platform. As Alana said, we may just have to “get over it”. Things like this and Beacon are certainly not stopping people from registering, it’s on a blistering pace. I think it depends on what you want out of a network. If you’re a young member of Facebook this may be a benefit to you seeing what you’re friends use and are fans of. If you’re a marketer you should be careful of how you implement ads on sites like this. The social ads are an option, not the only option. We may have to think about other networks if you want a real conversation to take place.
    David — Had this been a company/product/service that you absolutely loved, would you have felt okay about it? Are we “fanning” too many things or using too many apps? Would love to get your take.
    CK — This is still not manufactured WOM, as Ike pointed out, it’s more WOR. (Though I know we’re splitting straws and still talking about the same thing.) It’s taking the trust out of the equation and that’s not good for marketing.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    I absolutely agree that “WOR” is right word/ definition. Matt, I don’t think it’s splitting straws…I think it’s spot-on, I will use that from now on :-). Thanks to Ike there, too.
    And, like Mack pointed out, since I can’t roll with the practices, my getting over it means getting off of it. It has good uses for clients (groups/listening/causes)–aside from the WOR (which I never advise clients to invest in).
    And Ryan, I agree with “backing off, way off”. That could be a fun post and maybe even a theme song (sorry ’tis the marketer in me). What do I really love about FB? How I hailed (and still applaud) opening their network. Brilliant. My only problem was when they started abusing it.
    Can’t thank you folks enough for talkin’ this with me; been very helpful.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    First, CK, not every change happens from the outside (though PLEASE read Management of the Absurd by Richard Farson if you haven’t already, who makes a very pithy and incisive argument saying that’s exactly how change happens). Consider digg and issues over censoring DVD piracy codes – that happened from the inside. Consider Google making a number of changes like only counting a click from the hyperlinked part of an ad rather than the entire box – that change came from demands of its advertisers (or at least Google understanding its advertisers’ needs). Or look at eBay, which has probably the most active, invested community there is since it has millions of people who aren’t just part of it but earn some or all of their livelihoods from it – they dictate a lot of what eBay does, and a lot of when eBay changes announcements. The beauty of eBay, and the downside of it for their management team, is that it can’t make decisions in a vacuum by any means. (I’m keeping this short since my computer’s acting a little funny; I’ll respond to Matt next.)

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    Matt, you’re right that it does matter WHO is promoting me. In fact, if, say, the Office fan page was using me as a promotional tool, I’d think it’s cool as hell. And given that most of Facebook’s users join things they’re really fans of rather than joining things they’re researching, in that regard, most users might even find it really exciting that they’re being featured in an ad campaign. It’s like those billboards in Times Square featuring people who met on online dating sites – there’s a long list of people who apply to get on that list. And the explosion of consumer-generated ads, whether or not as part of a contest or a shot at fame, speaks to that as well.
    BUT on principle it’s still important to give consumers control, and as I mentioned in a previous column (if not several), Facebook has done a phenomenal job at setting granular levels of control. Facebook and LinkedIn, for instance, are two networks that let members determine precisely how much of their profiles to open up to search engines, which is incredibly valuable. And in setting those controls, Facebook and LinkedIn risk losing a huge chunk of traffic coming from search engines, and thus risk losing tons of ad impressions. So that alone is one case where I’m convinced it’s not ALL about the marketing, and there is a lot of thought given to the consumer experience.
    And it’s even possible that Mark Zuckerberg and others at Facebook are thinking of the scenario where the vast majority of people will want to be part of the ads and share that experience with their friends – which is another key point. The friend-ad endorsements are only being displayed with that user’s friends. So, if I declare myself a fan of The Office, and if that ad goes out to my 500 friends showing that I’m a fan of The Office, why the heck would I mind? Heck, it’s another reminder to my friends about me, and that I exist, and maybe more people will check out my profile and thus I’ll become more relevant to them. And then if I become a fan of ALL the things on Facebook that in real life I’m a fan of, my friends are going to see me all the freakin’ time, and in that ‘celebrity in my own mind’ kind of way, that can be cool as hell.
    On that note, I’ve almost convinced myself that Facebook’s doing the perfectly right thing the way they’re doing it, except for the fact that I think they should have as granular privacy controls over their ad offerings as they do with their search engine results.
    I’ll close with one more reference to Richard Farson, author of Management of the Absurd, who I believe quotes Abraham Maslow. Farson talks about “listening to the grumbles.” In an unhealthy organization, people will grumble about really basic stuff – like their salary’s too low or they’re not getting enough time off for lunch. In a healthy organization, people grumble about higher-order stuff, like that they’re not being used to their full potential. In those healthier organizations, people are making those complains precisely because they see others who are being used to their full potential (and pardon the word “used” here – I just woke up and I’m writing off the cuff). On Facebook, I think it shows signs of a healthy organization where people are grumbling about these complex privacy issues precisely because so many of their basic needs are being met. People are finding so many of their friends there, they’ have these completely uncensored communities that can form around anything or nothing at all, they have great photo and video sharing, they make it easy to add any application or game or whatever you want, etc etc etc, to the point where people are finding much more important things to complain about.
    Of course, healthy organizations need to keep listening to the grumbles to get even healthier; it never ends, just as people never stop complaining. But it’s also why I think Facebook, through all of the storms it’s been navigating, deserves far more credit than it’s been getting.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    It appears to me that Facebook crossed a very important line here. It is one thing to join a group, and to “passively” show SOME level of interest in, or approval of, that group (say, Blockbuster). It is another thing to freely choose to say (or even imply) nice things about that company, even in a public forum. But to then be used to pro-actively promote such a company as part of an ad campaign, without permission, is a whole different level of endorsement. Sorry, but that’s a bright line that should never be crossed. If David B had given explicit permission to be part of a campaign, that’s fine. But he didn’t.
    My passive or even active approval of a company, in some private or pubic forum, is not equivalent to permission to use me as an endorser in an ad.
    That’s a line any company should not “get over”!

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    Unfortunately I had to step out last night so I missed the bulk of this conversation.
    This whole issue of the relationship between publisher/advertiser and the user/member/reader/customer has been intriguing me tremendously since Beacon came out. I have to partially agree with Alana in that we are often going to have to get used to this. And that sucks. I doubt we’ll be changing Facebook from within on this one. Social adss are here to stay.
    I may be writing a large piece for a publication on this topic so I may be contacting some of you. There’s a tension between the two above groups and its kinda shocking that companies would go for this. It also surprises me how some social media consultants who have talked about the customer being in control and the idea of permission marketing seemed to at first not have a problem with these various Facebook advertising methodologies.
    The whole element of this type of marketing is bit by bit in two ways. Every few months they “push the envelope” once again. I hear analysts cheering them on even as they say they may have done it awkwardly. The other bit by bit aspect is that we’re not all finding out at once that we are part of a social ad. If Jeremiah hadn’t sent this to David, he wouldn’t have known about it. Jeremiah is a web strategist. So is David. So are we. We aren’t, as CK pointed out, the teens, the innocent customers, etc.
    By the way, none of us are getting paid to “endorse” these products or services.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    Thanks for continuing this very interesting discussion. Geez this is a BIG subject and David, I’m glad we moved this off of email and onto the blog. It’s too important.
    DB: I give FB credit (and have in separate posts at my place)on the venture/utility they have created–and, most especially, the brilliance of opening the platform to developers. I actually even have a key article that I share with my clients on FB’s opening of the platform. I just now ALSO share the Beacon/Fan/WOR mess, too.
    Hey, companies needs to make money (my job, when you go to the most basic, is “to make co’s profitable”). My issue is how FB is using (IMO, abusing) customers in order to do so. There is a better way here and it all maps to giving customers control…and then letting customers keep that control. I think co’s are starting to understand the first part of that sentence, but not the last part. The first part centers on innovation, the second part on customer loyalty. And I hope Ryan writes a post on his thoughts about “backing off, way off” as it’s a tremendous way to word it (and Ryan, you wouldn’t even have to mention FB; just your smarts).
    I think Drew and you are right–change can happen from the inside. It also happens from the outside. Let’s all agree it’s both. Because I’m going to have a hard time believing that the zillion blog posts railing against FB(not on FB, on independent blogs) didn’t highly influence FB’s decision to tame Beacon. I’m certain those “outside” influences did influence that decision. Also want to say that Drew hit on some key points that I’m going to address in the new year (but I can’t before then because it would ruin a surprise I have coming, so later on that Drew and thanks for raising some good “take action” points).
    Woodruff: Ah, the line. I have a story about the line (and crossing it) that I tell people often. It’s not really “my” story so much as just a cautionary tale. But I really appreciate your bringing it up.
    People/companies/governments/etc. need to be very mindful of lines. When they cross them, they lose trust and win-win goes to zero-sum in that one decision. Tim Jackson brought up trust above (thanks) and I talk it all the time. Once that is gone, it’s tough as the dickens to get back and yes, it does hit the bottom line. I find trust to be sacrosanct and see it as a “currency” of this economy (and all previous ones, sure, but where there’s more choice trust is much more of a critical success factor).
    Once an entity crosses the line, it’s easier to cross it again. And then, one day you look over your shoulder and the line is removed from view. You just can’t find it–or your customers’ trust–again.
    Yahoo crossed that line when it added too many links to its homepage–and just kept adding. MYSpace crossed the line with too much “ad junk” on pages. Google crossed the line with blogger this month (and since time Mack has figured out a workaround for commenters–not sure how many know about that issue so see http://www.theviralgarden.com on that debate). Marketers crossed that line with the whole telemarketing/new laws mess. We now have LAWS because marketers cross too many lines.
    And now, with Beacon and the above ad/manufactured WOR, the line is being crossed on both privacy violation and best practices.
    Trenn: I agree all around with you but let me just clarify (and I think you know this, I’m just being clear since you’re writing an article). I don’t feel “tension” with those I’m disagreeing with (like in this thread). But I think the tension you’re speaking of is between user/advertisers or user/social utility. I obviously feel that tension since I went and deactivated ;-).
    Btw, back to David: I think the reason we tackle this the way we do is our prime focus. I ‘think’ that you’re primarily focused on ‘experimentation’ and growth in this space. Makes sense, it’s your career. I’m also into new business models/building audiences and that’s my career, too. I’m just primarily focused on taking care of customers in the process. If we didn’t have SM tools, there would be no space. But if we didn’t have active/engaged users we’d have no market. Net net: We need ’em both so this space has to balance both. And we’re in the middle of finding that balance.
    Folks: We’re in precedent-setting times. We only get that about once every 10 years (I well remember Web 1.0 and the precedents we set there ;-). Experimentation and monetization are critical–so is being responsible in our marketing. Cuz when we do that, we always take care of the customer. I’ve certainly had some battles this year and FB is one ’em. But it’s always when I feel we’re setting some precedents. And that line Steve speaks of is critical when setting the bar.
    (PS: you all rock for staying with this)

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    You’re on a roll CK 😉 Just a few more thoughts:
    1. Did Facebook really think this would be in the best interest of its users? I highly doubt it. They thought it would help them (and their sponsors) make money. So clearly it was a profit-driven move rather than a people-driven move. Those usually backfire in this space.
    2. Is it really that hard to inform people of this upfront? How about, “If you want to be featured in social ads for this company, please check this box.” (Notice I didn’t say ‘uncheck’) Next to that sentence you can have a contextual link that reads, “What’s a social ad?” and then disclose more detail there.
    3. I think the phrase “get over it” is a complete cop-out. It’s the lazy marketer’s way of saying, “I’m gonna make some money and you’re not gonna stop me.” I don’t care if you want to monetize your platform, just don’t manipulate your users to do your bidding for you. Instead, put in a little more effort and creativity to actually add some value and enrich the community.
    4. Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. That’s really what this discussion is all about. There are real moral standards that exist in this world (which happens to include the Web). Just because you can blow all your money on gambling and booze, it doesn’t mean you should. Likewise, just because you can use your members to become endorsers by proxy (even if they don’t want to be or know about it) it doesn’t mean you should.
    Like CK said, these are precedent-setting times. Do you really want to live in a world where you’re constantly having to “get over it?” Or do you want to live, work, connect, grow and participate in a space that has your best interests in mind?
    For the record, those aren’t rhetorical questions. You either fight for what’s right, or you walk away with your tail between your legs wondering what could’ve been. Personally, I’ll choose the former.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    “I don’t care if you want to monetize your platform, just don’t manipulate your users to do your bidding for you. Instead, put in a little more effort and creativity to actually add some value and enrich the community.”
    100%. (Thank you for saying it better than me…and shorter)

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    Ryan’s point #2 is absolutely the right way to do this. Would have solved all the problems. Then at least it’s permission-based, instead of hijacking someone’s reputation for monetary gain.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2007

    @Woodruff: Amazing how simple the solution would have been, eh? This goes under my category of “simplistic elegance”. Love that you say “hijacking someone’s reputation”. Reputation was/is the right language that Ike hit upon.

    Reply
  • December 23, 2007

    You’re right David, this isn’t over: http://tinyurl.com/39muys
    But it’s not going to be just Facebook. It will be the way of social networks. It will force us to opt-out on the micro or macro levels.

    Reply
  • December 23, 2007

    @David: When I see you in ’08, let me borrow the book you’re imploring me to read, k? I know I’ll enjoy it. Not sure why Jonathan’s URL didn’t hyperlink so here’s another try at it, if it doesn’t light up you might want to check your prefs in Tpad. Good article, btw:
    http://tinyurl.com/39muys

    Reply
  • December 23, 2007

    First of all thanks CK, for plugging me into this conversation. Most of the important points have been made, but I want to play a little devil’s advocate here and say that 98% of people don’t even know Beacon or SocialAds exist. I was a college student when Facebook launched and Im still a heavy user today. Many of you came along to experiment and check out what all the fuss was about. For me, leaving isn’t really an option as my network is too plugged in. Granted, the experience is deteriorating. Similar to the Beacon hoopla, memes flow rapidly in these communities, and sometimes seem to become larger than life.
    That said, these are game changing times and we need to starting discussing these ideas today as these issues will grow to become more significant. As people that reside in this space we are hyper-sensitive to these issues; however, college kids really don’t care at all and in fact probably enjoy their face attached to an Office ad.
    Just wanted to offer another perspective.
    If your interested here’s a post that sheds a little more light on the student perspective:
    http://senithomas.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/growing-up-on-facebook-a-tale-of-a-students-transition-from-college
    -to-the-real-world/

    Reply
  • December 24, 2007

    Seni
    You raise some interesting points but I’d suggest to you that while that 98% figure may be accurate, that’s not a sign that 98% don’t care…they are just unaware. We are “insiders” so we notice things like this.
    You’re also right I would guess in that many college fans wouldn’t care about Social Ads. However, if FB is trying to prove valuation, they will need to appeal to the post-mid-twenties crowd, many of whom may not like those concepts. This could stunt their growth in those demographics.
    Facebook knows that there are a of Seni Thomas’ out there who have become too drawn in and won’t or can’t bring themselves to cut ties. They are hoping that emotional state will overcome the unease of Beacon and Social Ads.

    Reply
  • SearchCap: The Day In Search, December 24, 2007
    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web….

    Reply
  • December 24, 2007

    @Jonathan
    I agree with your assessment that people are unaware. However, people join groups and become fans as badges, not to interact with communities. At least now. The percentage of people that actually post on message boards and are active members of groups are few and far between. People join a Nike fan group to augment their FB identity, along with political groups, UNICEF groups, etc. Thus, a system that amplifies their badges through an ad system might not be taken in the worst manner. When there is a Larry King Live episode on the privacy issues around FB, there will be an uproar, until then people will notice a few feed items here and there and will glaze over it. This is also true for most users beyond the college segment.

    Reply
  • December 24, 2007

    @Seni: Absolutely agree…and waaay up there (which I don’t expect anyone to read to!) Jonathan and I talked that most won’t know. BUT as marketers we know a lot of what should/shouldn’t happen in the discipline. Just like other disciplines know the do’s and dont’s of theirs.
    While ads and badges galore may be their reality, it shouldn’t be. See, it deteriorates the medium as well as abusing the customer. Just like we have laws in telemarketing now (because they deteriorated that medium) and just like we have zillions of useless popups/banners (and then software to protect us from popups/banners- ha!-new markets created to protect us from…marketers!), the same will happen in SM.
    I’m looking to lessen that. Opt-out was an issue from a decade ago (I know, I fought that in Web 1.0 days ;-), take that with privacy violation and abusing customers (see the “get over it” mentalities from above) and we’re on our way to deteriorating this medium–and at warp speed. Old mentalities, new technologies (just as Mack said with 1.0 thinking on 2.0 platforms). So…I see lots of good in 2.0, but right now I’m seeing some pretty aggressive bad moves. Even if most don’t know, I know.
    I sure hope this makes sense. It wasn’t at all said with a tone. Oh, for you guys/gals that don’t know Seni yet, he’s in his young 20s and has a HUGE clue. Super smart and perceptive. Which is why I called him over ;-).

    Reply
  • December 25, 2007

    Last night David was at it again. He was promoting the movie Jackass on my Facebook page.
    I got to thinking. What i? someone ends up “promoting” a movie that they not only didn’t like, but were in some way offended by?
    Seni – again – I agree with your assessment regarding the concept of badges. But I still feel – as you probably do to – that it should be necessary to get permission from people before they are literally placed in an ad.
    Facebook’s approach is to ignore that concept and instead, go ahead with these “social ads”. They are relying on the general ignorance of the overall population of users and the fact that many are young and may not initially mind. I see this as a first step – and it isn’t just Facebook – of a new structure of marketing. The fact that entities can collect data on us – a concept I have not problem with – can allow them at the same time to use that data is various ways. They do it with a smiley face upfront and a “get over it” mindset behind that smile. They all are counting on the many of us to integrate our lives online that we ending of fearing “opting -out”. Why? That’s because so much of what we will do will be online.
    The more I think of it, the larger long-term issue many be control of our online lives and what we are able to do.

    Reply
  • December 25, 2007

    “The more I think of it, the larger long-term issue may be control of our online lives and what we are able to do.”
    @Jonathan: It was/is/will always be about power. I find it exhausting and silly but it seems so many need power (money battles/scandals are always about “power” which is such a fleeting model). But when you empower you engage and that engenders loyalty. Ad models, biz models can be engineered around this thinking.

    Reply
  • December 25, 2007

    David
    You said “Yet that’s exactly what’s happening – this shift to consumer control. Still, given how quickly models are evolving, not everyone’s going to totally shift their business models overnight.”
    If you meant that the power is now shifting to consumers…but in some cases its just not happening overnight, I have to strongly disagree. In many ways that is a myth. That sort of was happening,but Facebook’s method, I fear, will become the general model. For a variety of reasons. One, as Seni pointed out, is that many don’t care. I’ll somewhat self-righteously add is that they are too unsophisticated to care. They want their content, their relationships, etc. and they’ll give up a “little privacy”. Soon they’ll accept that more and more levels of control of their online existence.
    Consumers LOSE control in this type of model.

    Reply
  • December 25, 2007

    All good points CK and JT in the last posts. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening – this shift to consumer control. Still, given how quickly models are evolving, not everyone’s going to totally shift their business models overnight.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    Whoa.
    I thought the issue was not just how “far” beacon and this other manufactured WOR went…but that FB seemingly did it ‘overnight’.
    So biz models are shifting.
    Again, (again), in the wrong direction.
    Perhaps Beacon was intended to be lambasted.
    And so we ended up with this and it seems “not quite so harsh”. And, again, most people won’t notice–those people are, consequently, the consumers we serve–but this “not quite as harsh” is way over the line, still. And at warp speed.
    Also, I understand, this new model was baked-up in 90 days or so (I need to point you guys to the FC article which both hails the opening of the network to developers and hints to “something” about a system around demand “generation”…not fulfillment).

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    CK
    Realistically, my dear, we don’t serve consumers. Marketers serve their clients or their employees. That’s the reality.
    Not trying to sound harsh, but marketers are paid to sell product and/or position a brand. Yes, in doing so, they must build trust, but most seem to be willing to cross the line from time to time if it means more profits. They often have the attitude that, well, we, the consumer will – to paraphrase Alana – get over it.
    I bet a lot of marketers DID feel that this was a bit intrusive and developed a wait and see attitude over this. They may be doing the same with social ads, hoping that it may pan out. That’s why I hear some in the field or some analysts praising Facebook for “pushing the envelop”.
    Think of the financial scandals with firms like Merrill Lynch. Think of what telecommunications firms did in the ’90’s…”slamming”, the process of essentially stealing you as a customer. You may get your long distance services from Company A but Company B went behind the scenes and changed you over to their service. Think of the recent steroid controversy in baseball. Management, the players union, all knew it was going on for years – but home runs mean more attendance. And bigger contracts.
    The stuff that we see happening here is very similar. Much of the idealistic “engage your customer” and “let go of control”, while being legitimate for what is should be, is, in reality, a fallacy as many won’t implement it.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    Wow. I ducked out for a couple of days and the comments doubled again.
    Ryan nailed it with #4 – something I said to CK over the phone last week: “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
    It’s really just a corollary of Parker’s Principle: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    I’ll hop back into the convo later today or tomorrow (family is in town and wants to see the city). But Jonathan is just needling me with that comment up there ;-). Jonathan, when I worked company side I was very much judged on customer reaction/sales/etc…those companies would not exist w/out customers. Both in retail and network TV, we had to serve customers…or else customers would 1) shop somewhere else or, 2) watch other networks (and I’d be out of a job). And as consultant, even on the b2b side, I’m tasked with increasing customers and revenues/loyalty for every project i’m retained for.
    Btw, 1 example of a company listening? See the current “coal” post at my place. They listened and, as a result, launched a neat holiday promo out of it.
    Back at you chatty marketers later (I know, who am I to call you folks chatty? That’s the pot calling the kettle black, eh? 😉

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    While CK is bopping about town playing host I’ll add a few things and needle her some more. I love needling her.
    Look, I was one of the early trashers of Facebook Beacon. See here: http://marketingconversation.com/2007/11/24/facebook-beacon-inst-in-the-users-interest-that-means-you/
    I just think the majority of marketers – both consultants and insiders – are ingrained so strongly on the push side. And I’m not anti-push. But it’s not that they WANT to offend, but they’re not that concerned about offending. Right now I bet a lot of CMOs, brand managers, media buyers and the like are sitting back hoping that Social Ads pull through. They’re not inherently upset with the idea of people becoming advertisements without there knowledge or permission.
    Heck, I don’t see much discussion about Social Ads from other marketing blogs. Maybe that’s because it is only now being made award, but a lot of our colleagues don’t seem to notice – or care.
    Regarding your past work, CK. Yes. That’s fine. I’m not disagreeing with that. But my guess is that you and your clients/employees knew how far you could push the envelope…and you respected it. Here, we’re dealing with unknown territory and it seems some marketers are more than happy to go over the line. Why? to paraphrase Ryan and Ike, because they can.
    Are we here the only ones complaining about this?

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    Jonathan, I still think you need to look at everything else Facebook is doing. With Beacon, for instance, it’s now a fully opt-in method, so the consumers win. And this version of Social Ads was technically part of the early November announcement but didn’t actually start appearing in early December, by any accounts I’ve seen. So this is a few weeks old, and Facebook has shown repeatedly that it listens to its members, not just its advertisers. As I mentioned earlier, look at the degree of consumer control that it offers members in listing what should be included in search engine results, even while that means it’s leaving a lot of traffic (and thus ad impressions) on the table. LinkedIn takes a similar approach.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    OK, back from showing my Dad the city and doing the robot and the (all-new!) puppet dance in Times Square. Oh, for the extremely cool kids that are coming in for Blogger Social in April, I promise to do it then, too. Hope to see all of you there.
    @Jonathan: Yes, we are dealing with the unknown and, ergo, establishing limits. Or, in your words, seeing how far we can push the envelope. I guess, in an oh-so-myopic world we just push those limits instead of, um, testing them first with things like Customer Advisory Boards–and yet not testing goes against every good practice since, um, like 50+ years ago, no? So, hmmm, why didn’t FB test?
    Let’s face it, FB didn’t do so becuz they knew this would either slide under the radar or make everyone’s quills stand on end. Beacon didn’t pass the radar and neither did opt-out. But these social media ads are well on their way to full-on acceptance.
    As for “are we the only ones complaining?”. Good thought. No, very good thought. But wrong word.
    The question is “Are we the only ones caring?” What kills most strategies/programs? Myopia (myopia is marketers’ #1 issue, all stems from there). But what enables most bad practices? Apathy.
    Please understand, as I’ve said here and other places, I would like to see social media advertising work. But I don’t agree with THIS model. Consumers will tune it out. Or, if they see too many ads with their friends plastered on it they’ll just delete that friend. For instance, when I was still on FB for the first couple weeks of Beacon in late November, I kept seeing David’s purchases and I knew he was experimenting. But it ticked me off and, had I decided to remain on FB (which of course I couldn’t), I would have deleted David from my network if the ads continued. (but would never un-sub from your blog, David…tho’ I may not be allowed back after this convo).
    But, when David has authentically recommended a book to me, 4 out of 5 times I’ve bought the book. I even had to wait 3 weeks to find a copy of one read that was out-of-print. But David authentically recommended it to me and it was worth the wait. (David: I had to go through a LOT to get “natural laws of business” and it not only is brilliant, it saved my butt on one account, thanks ;-).
    (PS: can’t agree more with Ike’s responsibility comment)

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    I totally agree with the new word, caring.
    Here’s yet another example. This one from Google.
    http://www.wisebread.com/google-reader-invades-your-privacy-and-its-not-going-to-stop#comment-116974

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    Oh Google’s been at the forefront of “push-la-envelope-please” on privacy violation.
    But they’ve done something smart (or, as said above in pretty basic “Marketing 101 in 2.0”): they’ve created value, immense value.
    Still are, BUT…for the last 2 weeks I was joining in convos at Paul’s, Mack’s and Toad’s place about not being able to comment sans a Google ID (for discussion on that go to http://www.theviralgarden.com). It’s far from just FB–it’s the model we’re all discussing/debating.
    (and while Google and MSoft are smacking down in court…Google’s acting a lot more like MSoft used to).

    Reply
  • December 26, 2007

    Bingo. More control loss right there. Have to have a Google ID. Luckily for me I had one. You’ve integrated them into the main part of your online existence and they got you by the balls.
    Well, half of us anyway.
    That’s why I say the openness of the Internet is closing fast.
    And CK – I found David promoting Jackass on Christmas morning. Right there. On my computer. Busy guy. I wonder how much he gets paid for that.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2007

    Just for the sake of irony, I’m going to get a job with Blockbuster (just kidding, 360i!).
    I’m still convinced in the long run that Facebook, Google, and the others will get it and turn over the keys to the consumers. I see them as related but very different stories, and in my book, what Google’s doing is far worse (and thanks for bringing this up, as this is another web pet peeve of mine). For the time being, I can chalk Facebook’s misstep to experimenting with new business models – albeit models that need refining. What Google’s doing is classic control freak behavior (very Microsoft, as Jonathan mentioned), trying to actually set terms for how internet users can interact. That’s just inexcusable, and at least mildly disconcerting if not frightening.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2007

    @David: Differing opinions is more than fine and what makes the world go round…but you think they’re going to “get it and then hand over the keys to consumers”? David, they may be cornered into giving more control away…but this is not an issue of getting it or not getting it. They’re in this space, they get it. I assure you, they get it.And FB made their decision on how far they wanted to push the envelope for revenues. (again, revenues are OK!, this model is not).
    I mentioned that Google is acting like Msoft lately and I see it as wrong what they did, too (just ask Mack/Toad/Paul on my gripes there) but I dont’ see them as worse. Anytime we try to 1) limit our users’ freedoms or, 2) try to make them selling agents (WOR) or 3) invade their privacy = all bad. Let’s just say those are all inexcusable instead of defining “degrees of bad”. Personally, I’ve had enough of the offline world excusing “degrees of bad” and it’s very, very bad territory. They all crossed the line on best practices, heck decent practices.
    Yeah, I’m not at all comfortable saying “Well, FB isn’t as bad as Google so let’s excuse their bad practices.” That’s myopic, IMO. For the record, I’m amazed you’re OK with this FB ad model (said in complete honesty sans a tone), as that’s what I’m understanding and please thoroughly correct me if I’m misunderstanding or, you just think I’ve lost my marbles.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2007

    @David, I’m assuming that you can find an email or something for FB to alert them to this convo? See, I can’t get in over there since I’ve deactivated. But I think that they would get some insight from this convo being it’s from marketers’ mouths. Or perhaps you know some press in the industry?
    I’m otherwise left to assume that media/etc. thinks that everyone’s just OK with this. Sure, perhaps the innocent consumers are (or just don’t understand the implications as we’ve well covered), but it would be enlightening to somebody for them to understand that there remain some strong opinions on the side of best practices + responsibility. Can you or anyone alert some media and FB?
    Maybe they don’t care…consequently, maybe they do. At this point I can only assume they don’t know of this convo (or others).

    Reply
  • December 27, 2007

    David: they brought the new talent in so as to figure out this model in a matter of months (they needed to make money, understand that). But I say a matter of months to hit home “overnight” in regards to your comment (way up there).
    thanks for the clarification on posish. Like my first FB post at my place said (and I wrote this to FB in my deactivation comment): trust is critical and hard/expensive to win back…unfortunately too many find this out once they’ve lost it.
    Do hope they change course. As Jonathan hit on, it’s the bigger issue–and like I said way up there, we’re in precedent-setting times and crossing all sorts of lines (which is why I get so mouthy).

    Reply
  • December 27, 2007

    Thanks David. I have some ideas that I’d very much like to chat with anyone who’s interested (or can still stand me). Let me work through them a bit more and I’ll email those who’ve been active in this discussion soon.
    Oh, and anyone who has ideas…I’d love to hear ’em.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2007

    With the Facebook ad model, I’m not okay with it. I think this part of it needs to change. However, they already made one MAJOR change with Beacon by making the updates from third-party sites appear only on an opt-in basis. They changed that very, very quickly.
    I think if there’s enough awareness raised about this incarnation of it, if enough people get educated about it, if enough marketers like Blockbuster realize that their participation with it will generate such negative press, and if enough people at Facebook realize the backlash, this can change too.
    I’m not excusing Facebook at all. I’m just optimistic about how the tide’s turning, and I’ve also seen them pay attention to a backlash. It’s a young company with very young leadership, so there’s no reason to assume every angle of this has been perfectly thought out. As someone mentioned (maybe even you – so hard to keep track!), the whole model went from concept to fruition in a matter of weeks or months.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2007

    David – Think you tackled the fine lines here really well. The bottom line is Facebook needs to rethink their association of “I’m a fan of” and paid advertising. That’s not a fine line. It IS an endorsement.
    Dialog is always the key. Hope fully a screen capture of this dialog can be sent to someone at Facebook.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2007

    I am in touch with several people at Facebook, and I also know a few journalists who’d be interested, so yes, I’ll be doing my part to get their thoughts, on or off the record, and perhaps some will be so moved as to act on it.

    Reply
  • December 28, 2007

    I agree that Facebook’s behavior here was bad.
    Whenever I sign up for Facebook, MySpace…. whatever… I leave the preferences info blank. I give them nothing to work with.

    Reply
  • December 31, 2007

    Well, I came back. Missed y’all.
    I just noticed something you wrote way up yonder there David. That Facebook really listens to its user. I’d answer with a skeptical maybe. They’re doing things that they know will likely offend their members (Beacon and Social Ads) and they often pull back with a net gain. That’s their strategy. They aren’t listening, they’re retreating to a lesser win.
    Same to an extent with Google. We integrate our online experiences online into one or two or maybe three entities. Our networks, our communication methods. Suddenly the entity changes it. Facebook with Beacon or Social Ads. Google with their blogger comment capabilies or the new controversy…the sharing of info. So they then retreat with an apology. There solution will now often be couched as a ‘choice’. We have the ‘freedom’ to choose what we want now. A or B. When before they made their latest move we had limited to A or B.
    The problem isn’t just ‘privacy’. They are using your image, without your explicit permission or prior knowledge to promote something (Blockbuster) to (in this case) me. Now I should rent Jackass because you’ve joined a group.
    If they had related to me books you’ve read on online marketing it may make sense for me. If they had asked permission from you before hand and then sent you a gift certificate it may make sense for you.
    I’m just thinking that if this grows we each may be unknowingly popping up all over the internet as advertisements to people who may or may not have any interest in the product or service at hand.

    Reply
  • December 31, 2007

    Yes, Facebook is most assuredly showing us multiple personalities. This is likely because they weren’t prepared for the influx of so many new members, most of whom were not of their traditional demographic target.
    They then tried to live up to their valuation by monetizing their users in inappropriate ways. Funny thing, I have nothing against their idea to target ads according to the info I put on my page. I just don’t want to see them involved in relationships between user and online retailer. And their using members choices to join this or that allows them to use us as marketing vehicles.

    Reply
  • December 31, 2007

    David R.: The sad thing there is that you’re forced to sit on the sidelines in a way and not take part in all the communities can offer. You mention specifically not filling out interests. Along with a lot of crap, I see well targeted ads all the time based on various things I’ve posted, such as my interest in certain TV shows to my former relationship status as “engaged” (some of the ads were actually helpful in helping me take care of things for the wedding).
    Jonathan: I think Facebook can’t be readily painted into one corner. I wrote a column series months back called “The Many Faces of Google.” Facebook behaves similarly; it’s not consistent. With the search engine privacy settings and opening up its platform to outside developers, that didn’t stem from user requests (at least not in any significant manner). It happened because that’s how they felt it was best to design their network.
    Next, look at their whole implementation of the News Feed, which had a highly publicized backlash that Facebook ignored, and the vast majority of its users will say the News Feed is one of the most useful features on its site. It also happens to be a great ad delivery mechanism, but only because it attracts so much attention from its members.
    So, here Facebook did serve its advertisers first, but that doesn’t mean that’s what Facebook does in practice. It means it’s what they’ve done now. It has to be changed, but like many if not all companies, Facebook shows some signs of multiple personality disorder.

    Reply
  • January 1, 2008

    “I’m just thinking that if this grows we each may be unknowingly popping up all over the internet as advertisements to people who may or may not have any interest in the product or service at hand.”
    Um, ya think? Cuz I sure do. That’s why at my place I said that I hope the future doesn’t look more like this. (But that I fear it will.)
    TiVo is great for time-shifting…also VERY great for skipping (bad) ads. My pop-up blocker wards against abuse from the Fortune 500 (I’m not talking all the black market Viagra SPAM, but reputable co’s flooding the Web with obtrusive, annoying ads). Telemarketing? I’m on the do-not-call list (a list that I just found out only lasts for 60 months at a time, how much of a load of BS is that?). I throw away ALL junk mail and, I pay a premium to HBO not only for the content but to watch ad-free content. So I’ve just documented a list of abuse from several mediums.
    There’s a saying that goes “we are doomed to repeat history if we don’t learn from it” (so, if companies and advertisers continue to practice myopic initiatives that do not value customers they will succeed in polluting yet ANOTHER medium).
    I don’t see FB’s moves of late as “innovative.” Opening their network was innovative. But I’m not sure (and quite baffled, frankly) how privacy violation and decreasing the integrity of WOM could be argued as anything but polluting yet another medium (which doesn’t serve the customer or marketers in the long run). The kicker? This pollution comes from a company that claims to understand the principles of the 2.0 space. Sorry, I ain’t falling for it.
    The answer? Create value and then customers will authentically buzz to their friends about offerings. Another answer? Create valuable apps/programs that facilitate that buzz. Btw, both of those answers fall under the directive of “Marketers, just do your jobs.” (duh)

    Reply
  • January 1, 2008

    Oh, along with marketers polluting every medium to date–many people (consumers, co’s, nations) have polluted the planet. And look how DIRE we let that situation get. So it follows that humans have a propensity to pollute…better we’re mindful of that during, not after, no?
    I applaud innovation (and have applauded FB’s opening of the network a zillion times/places). But I really rage against further pollution. I am trying to be objective (history) and show actual actions (the exploitation of MANY mediums in my above comment).
    I’m saying that when these precedent-setting issues arise, we need to really step up and be responsible as well as strategic (as creating a zero-sum medium because it’s been so terribly polluted is anything but strategic/long-term thinking).
    Maybe I should just shut the heck up (might be a good idea, for real) since this conversation is among marketers who care on all these counts. But I really hope others are listening to this convo and I’m glad DB is writing about it in other places. It really is so important that we keep 2.0 on the right track–which is wholly and completely within the hands of the market.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2008

    I was thinking about this issue whilst traipsing around Connecticut on the holidays, and I think it underscores some general principles of marketing advertising that apply across all media.
    There are at least 3 levels, all of which are (or should be) opt-in:
    – Personal involvement. Let’s say I have an interest in a particular candidate for political office. I can go to rally or a website and obtain information. My choice.
    – Community involvement. Perhaps I really like this candidate, and decide to join a group promoting his/her candidacy. I can do that freely, without being auto-enrolled by anyone else. My choice.
    – Public endorsement. Now, does anyone suddenly have the right to plaster my face on a billboard endorsing this candidate, and plant signs all over my yard? Of course not! Perhaps I might wish to publicly endorse the individual, but perhaps not, and my first 2 levels of involvement do not imply an opt-in on the third.
    By being on Facebook, and joining some particular interest group, I am freely giving whatever level of commitment I have chosen. No one has the right to escalate me, without permission, to something else, esp. for their own ends.

    Reply
  • May 2, 2008

    they are crazy but thans and blog is very nice.

    Reply
  • May 2, 2008

    There are at least 1 levels, all of which are (or should be) opt-in:
    – Personal involvement. Let’s say I have an interest in a particular candidate for political office. I can go to rally or a website and obtain information. My choice.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2008

    I am pissed off at facebook’s social ads, too! When my boyfriend views the pages of female friends, facebook displays sexually explicit ads. Even though he is listed as being in a relationship. Thanks, facebook! And, not that I’m complaining, but just for fairness: I never get any ads with pics of hot dudes when viewing the pages of male friends, guess cause I’m a girl. Very emancipated there, facebook! (And for all of those that will say: “Well, do you know what else he is doing on facebook…?”: Yeah, and he isn’t a “fan” of any businesses of that sort, or anything like that!)

    Reply
  • August 30, 2008

    Brian and Sarah McCoy offers home based business by selling or marketing xocai products.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2008

    Brian and Sarah McCoy offers home based business by selling or marketing xocai products.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2008

    Thanks for this excellent compilation of companies operating in this space.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008

    Thanks for this excellent compilation of companies operatingccc in this space.

    Reply
  • October 23, 2008

    Thanks, facebook! And, not that I’m complaining, but just for fairness. By being on Facebook, and joining some particular interest group, I am freely giving whatever level of commitment I have chosen.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2008

    I never get any ads with pics of hot dudes when viewing the pages of male friends, guess cause I’m a girl. Very emancipated there, facebook!

    Reply
  • November 25, 2008

    The percentage of people that actually post on message boards and are active members of groups are few and far between. I’ve also seen a lot of agencies coming out with better ways to pitch bloggers. Many sure suck at it, sure.

    Reply
  • November 28, 2008

    Really useful list. The percentage of people that actually post on message boards and are active members of groups are few and far between. This could stunt their growth in those demographics.

    Reply
  • December 3, 2008

    The percentage of people that actually post on message boards and are active members of groups are few and far between. When there is a Larry King Live episode on the privacy issues around FB, there will be an uproar, until then people will notice a few feed items here and there and will glaze over it.

    Reply
  • December 5, 2008

    Testing the new comment platform…

    Reply

Write a response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to get all the updates in your inbox?

Want to get all the updates in your inbox?

Get the Serial Marketer Weekly​

Categories

Archives