Dare Obasanjo and Dave Winer have (separately) been thinking about the new SocialAds in Facebook which I roundly dissmissed last week on this blog. From Dare’s post (which cites Dave Winer as well)
I’ve been pondering the implications of Facebook’s SocialAds announcement and it has created some interesting lines of thought. The moment the pin dropped was when Dave Winer linked to one of his old posts that contains the following money quote
that’s when the whole idea of advertising will go poof, will disappear. If it’s perfectly targeted, it isn’t advertising, it’s information. Information is welcome, advertising is offensive.
If you think about it, the reason Google makes so much money from search advertising is because the ads are particularly relevant when a user is seeking information or a trusted opinion as part of the process to make a commercial decision. If I’m searching for “iPod” or “car insurance” then it is quite likely that ads selling me these products are relevant to my search and are actually considered to be information instead of intrusive advertising.
They’re right. There is a place for SocialAds and it does question the very foundation of advertising. It’s not us telling customers anymore, it’s customers telling customers.
Will it work for every product or service? No. But there are many of us for whom it may work very well. I was also reminded that I live in New England, which makes me a Yankee, and we’re generally the slowest to buy into change.
Dare notices one important thing about this widgetized development. Widget developers don’t have access to store information on Facebook, it’s all kept in separate silos, owned by the widget developer. Hence Facebook misses out on some of the key data. But the good side is, as Dare note:
it’s a lot better for users and app developers if they don’t have to worry that some half baked app written by some drunken college kid is going to hose their Scrabulous scores or corrupt all their movie ratings.
So I’ll be reconsidering SocialAds, but for now, I still don’t want to see your smiling face next to a recommendation for a can of Cruex.