Facebook set to become just another spammer? I am at Facebook’s social advertising announcement in New York City, where Mark Zuckerberg is about to take the stage and tell us all what we already think we know: Facebook is getting into the advertising business in a big way My thoughts: This could be huge if done right, but it could also backfire badly for Facebook. If I start to think that my friends are advertising to me, I may no longer trust them (and, in fact, try to avoid them . .. by not logging into Facebook anymore). So the the trick is to make these appear to be genuine recommendations, and not ads. I am not sure how many people will be fooled by this, though. It risks turning something useful—the feed of my friends’ activities—into something spammy. — Erick Schonfeld, TechCrunch

Facebook has fulfilled its destiny: it is now Adbook. The data you share in Facebook is incredibly rich. Marketers can target based on your interests (You like Dylan? Buy the box set.) or your friends interests (Seven of your friends love Crocs, buy some Crocs.). Take the internal data, and mash it with the external data collected from Beacon – and you’ve got some seriously powerful targeting information. — Unit Structures

Just capitalising on what friends already do. The company’s approach to advertising boils down to an attempt at conversational marketing, where users become product promoters and are encouraged to spread the word about things they buy and use among their group of friends and contacts. “Facebook Ads represent a completely new way of advertising online,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a small crowd of a few hundred ad execs and press, with his usual Jobsian hyperbole in full effect … There are those who agree with Zuckerberg that Facebook’s new strategy is a winner — highly targeted ads and consumers acting as marketers. There are those who think the whole idea reeks of privacy violations — ads based on the personal information about yourself you intended only to share with friends? There are those who were hoping for something bigger — the next AdSense. There are those who wonder if the whole thing will work — who wants to promote products anyway? On that last point, the answer is probably a whole lot of people. While people are unlikely to trumpet prewritten marketing messages to their friends, we already do a lot of marketing in our lives. We wear t-shirts with logos on them, we talk to our friends about things we’ve purchased, and directly on Facebook we provide numerous lists of our favorite things (music, TV shows, movies, books, sports teams — we’re acting as marketers for all of those things).  — Josh Catone, Read/WriteWeb

Facebook abuse, the new web violation. If your credit-card company abused your trust this badly, you’d probably sue them. There’s something disgustingly, revoltingly obscene about using your subscribers in such a thoroughly exploitative way. I’m most appalled at how Facebook wants its users to function as unpaid shills for corporate products and services. It’s merchandising taken to unconscionable extremes. — Twilight in the Valley of the Nerds

Does it even work anyway? Forget the hype about Facebook’s new advertising system. How well does it work? Can advertisers even buy its new-fangled “social ads?” Well, I tried to buy an ad this morning and I was stopped dead in my tracks by an “Unknown HTTP Error #302.”
You’d think that Facebook’s 20-something engineering geniuses would have worked out the bugs BEFORE making this thing public, but I guess that kind of thinking is too “old school” for them. What a frickin’ $15 Billion joke. — Steve Baldwin, Ghost Sites of the Web

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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