Facebook Beacon

If Facebook Beacon somehow survives the recent onslaught it will likely become a powerful advertising platform. They are doing everything right, you just aren’t ready for it. Yes you, the same person who fills their various social nooks with all types of juicy personal information yet throws up the privacy flag when its convenient. I understand the concerns, and I would even say they are more than valid. It just seems to me in this new web landscape there is very little middle ground to stand on. You are either a social media whore, sharing your thoughts/friends/relationship status/actions freely for all to see, or opting out completely.

Data Sharing Is Not Something New

Information is power as they say, and marketing companies thrive on it. When you signup for a credit card or simply enter your information online this data is almost always shared in one way or another. Companies like Choicepoint have built huge businesses out of it and they want more. Social networks already contain some of this information and they want it. Your credit score and address are one thing, but your personality and social actions are the real "holy grail" here.

Keeping Up With the Jones

Referral based marketing is sexy, if you run in tight circles of friends on social networks your connections are watching you. Facebook Beacon taps into something formally out of reach to most companies, your friends. Where "word of mouth" marketing is simply a whisper in your ear referral based marketing is something more tangible. Something you can click and run with, a passive but effective call to action.

So for now I’m going against the grain and as an "Internet Marketer" supporting Beacon. For those wishing to block it without having to delete your account I recommend visiting here. For best results you’ll probably want to make a tin foil hat as well.

Coming Soon: Twitter Beacon! Now when you thrill me with your updates on recent sandwiches eaten I get a advertisement from Subway. :)


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4 Responses to Facebook Beacon

  1. matthew says:

    i think the issue is captured in your phrase “sharing your thoughts/friends/relationship status/actions freely for all to see”. Its one thing posting what colour t-shirt you’re wearing to your opt-in family and friends, its another thing to have the network of people you trust expanded to include advertisers without the same level of explicit inclusion. its all about how they went around turning on the beacon, rather than being loud and shouty about the new features. Yes, you can turn them off, but people feel more comfortable when you opt to turn them on by default, not the other way around. I agree with your sentiments on how contextual advertising is powerful, and referral marketing has long been the cornerstone of the industry, but its the openness of the approach which people have issue with, more than the meat and veg of the advertising itself. To paraphrase Animal Farm: Opt-in good, Opt-out bad.

  2. Matthew,

    Thanks for the comments, this post was getting wayyy too many views to not have a well thought out comment like that.

    I agree, default to opt-out would be the best way to start with this. However, that would make the platform ineffective for advertisers and Facebook. I’m not sure many would go out of their way to opt-in.

    Unless you buy mad shit and want the world to know…

  3. “that would make the platform ineffective for advertisers and Facebook”

    yup – and that comes down to whether Mark Z is commited to sustaining a social networking space for people, or an advertising platform for marketers. I know which is more lucrative, but i also know which has more karma points from the community. People will only take part in, and more importantly, stay involved with, communities which they respect, and don’t feel shafted over by. There will be ‘the next facebook’ soon enough, and user loyalty has to work both ways.

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