Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Comment Elsewhere: Social Network Cynicism

Terry at I See Invisible People has been discovering that Facebook, for all its utility and entertainment value, also has blazingly insensitive aspects. My comment
Facebook is like a TV station, a cable channel, or a magazine, or a newspaper: they provide a service which attracts an audience. Then they sell access to that audience to advertisers: advertisers will pay more for an audience that is more likely to be interested in their product, so Facebook, which knows a lot about its users, should be able, in theory, to sell high-potential audiences to advertisers for good money.

Someone who uses this prescription gift app is giving Facebook a lot of information about themselves and/or the recipient.

So far, Facebook has been treading a fine line (i.e. a big gray area): trying to be useful to their advertisers without blatantly prostituting their users or violating their individual privacy. But I’m not sure they’re making all the money they think they should be making, yet. So they’re being more aggressive about extracting information, and they’re being more aggressive about finding ways to draw in advertisers, and they’re being more aggressive about attracting the high-value 18-35 demographic (though I still don’t know why that is; they’re not the ones with all the money) by being “edgy”….

Yeah, it’s a little cynical. OK, it’s a lot cynical, but I didn’t make up the business model.

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