MySpace expands ads targeted to details on user profiles
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#1 Nov 7, 2007
Facebook's announcement about SocialAds is all the buzz up here in New York City at the ad:tech conference. Much of what people are talking about involves respecting the consumer's privacy and permission, the FTC possibly cracking down on user tracking methods altogether (think a "Do Not Track" list similar to the "Do Not Call" registry), and what all this means. Beth Comstock, President, Integrated Media, NBC Universal expressed an opinion I wrote about in one of my earliest articles (Success Magazine, late 90's) in which I said that I wasn't sure I liked all of the predictive technology because it might wipe out the "aspiration and emotional side" (i.e. impulse action) of decision-making processes. Just because past behavior might be a good indication of future action doesn't mean that the future should be so regulated and controlled by marketers. The reader who commented: "Yeah, thanks Facebook and Amazon for ruining the potential surprise of gift giving..." seems to be thinking along the same lines. Even if right now you have to manually enter your Amazon book purchases into Facebook, it seems a short leap to where you'll be able to set up automatic notifications to your friends for any online purchase. Especially if/when retailers start to see the results of advertising-as recommendation through these newsfeeds.
I also solicited some opinions from the staff at my online marketing agency, and our ad buyer had a good comment - SocialAds may end up eroding some of the "genuineness" Facebook profiles, or otherwise impact the way that users presented their information. For example, will a user start to enter fake info or limit their info, and if so, won't that ruin the fun and purpose of social networking sites altogether?(It could be argued that some folks already enter fake details, but we're thinking about those who want to use these sites to honestly communicate with friends.)
This is where the opt-out option may come into play as Facebook and MySpace try to curtail users jumping ship. From both an advertising and user standpoint - behavioral targeting is going to be an important discussion moving forward.
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