I have to preface this post by saying that I work in the online advertising industry. I work for what is termed a digital marketing solutions provider. If it wasn’t for online advertising I wouldn’t have a job. However I, like most internet users, strongly object to websites full of intrusive advertisements that obstruct my viewing pleasure.
There is a huge uproar about Facebook’s new advertisement strategy. However, what most people don’t realise is that publishers have been using people’s information to deliver them targeted advertisement for quite some time. Publishers know what advertisements you have seen, what you have clicked on and they know if you started to sign up for a credit card but decided not to submit your application and they serve you advertisements according to your online behaviour. Facebook is just taking this one step further by using the information entered by the user on their website to serve them advertisements based on their interests.
Personally I don’t really see a huge problem with this. You, the user, decided to give Facebook this information. Facebook does not demand that you enter your interests, location or favourite music. All that is required to sign up to Facebook is your name and date of birth. You could easily write in your interest field ‘Bugger Off Facebook’. I am sure quite a few people are going to from now on.
Advertisement pays for social networking sites like Facebook and My Space as well as other online content like the Sydney Morning Herald and The New York Times. Without it, you would have to paid to read the morning paper online or become a member of a social networking site. If we have to put up with advertisement, I would much rather see ads about things that I am interested in like computers and books rather than things I am not like weight loss and beauty products. The more competitive advertising space becomes on sites like Facebook, the better the advertising is going to be. Hopefully no longer are we going to see those hideous ‘Click here to win a free laptop’ banners, but instead we will get advertising that makes us laugh or want to interact with it.
Just remember that you control the content that Facebook has access to. Use this power wisely.
Now, that I have had my say about it, what do you think about advertising on Facebook and other social networking sites? Do you want to see advertising based on your interests or do you find the whole thing rather creepy? Is this enough to make you want to delete your Facebook account?