UPDATE 2: (See bottom for Update 1) Facebook appears to be reconsidering Beacon, according to a report from Newsweek last evening. ‘Twould seem a fair amount of web noise (including MoveOn) may have gotten through to Facebook. Google’s motto is "Do No Evil". Maybe Facebook’s could become "Trying to Be Less Creepy." I think Dvorak is still right (see bottom of this post) no matter what Facebook does.
HUGH’S SECOND LAW: "The minute the Facebooks of the world forget they are replaceable, is the minute people like me move in for The Kill."
[HUGH"S FIRST LAW: "All online social networks eventually turn into a swampy mush of spam."] (Hugh’s cartoon with his post illustrates his point beautifully. Be forewarned, some of you will be offended by the language.)
Wendy Davis, at Media Post writes,
….privacy groups are preparing to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission against the social networking site.
The digital civil rights group Electronic Privacy Information Center intends to file a complaint by January about both Facebook’s new SocialAds and Beacon programs. The Center for Digital Democracy, which currently has a complaint pending at the FTC about behavioral targeting, also intends to pursue regulatory action against the company.
EPIC plans to protest both Facebook’s SocialAds–which tells members which of their friends have signed on as "fans" of the advertisers– and Beacon ads, which notifies members’ friends about their off-site purchases.
The three-week-old programs mark Facebook’s attempt to harness users on behalf of marketers, in effect turning members into word-of-mouth advertisers. And that’s precisely why some advocates find the programs objectionable; they argue that Facebook is improperly pressing consumers into service on behalf of marketers.
"Part of what Facebook is doing is taking from people the value of their endorsements, which traditionally is something that people can be compensated for, and selling it back to their advertisers," says EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg.
‘Twould appear that Mark Zuckerberg’s brilliant strategy to monetize the gazillion Facebookian eyeballs may be hitting a few potholes on the road to FB’s 15 Billion Dollar valuation. "All Your Data Are Belong to Us" may not prove to be as true as Facebook was wishing and a-hoping, hoping and a-praying.
UPDATE 1: In a later post, Macleod asks whether Facebook is consigning themselves to the slushpile of history,
So what’s stopping Facebook from putting in a small, tickable box that says, "Please do not let my ‘Friends’ send me any more of these REALLY ANNOYING Vampire/Zombie/Super wall/Super Poke/Whatever invites. I really, really don’t want them etc…"?
Heck, it would probably take one of their junior coders only a few minutes to do. What’s the problem?
I’m starting to suspect the short answer is, they WANT you to spend hour after hour after hour every month on their pages, deleting the crap. Makes the numbers look better for their bean counters:
"Yes, Mr Investor, people are spending on average 4 hours a day on our site. Can we have your vast pots of money now?"
And Dvorak writes,
What has been overlooked in the entire social-networking scheme is that at its core, it’s not social networking but marketing. In fact, the entire MySpace scene is devoted mostly to selling music and keeping people up-to-date with their fav indie band. Sometimes events, such as a rave or a house party, can be announced on MySpace, although the real winner is still the indie band. Most parties are done with IM lists.
On the whole, the social network is less about the social part and more about the sales. pitch.