Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Facebook aims to market its user data bank to businesses

by Richard Wray Facebook intends to capitalise on the wealth of information it has about its users by offering its 150 million-strong customer base to corporations as a market research tool. The appearance, later this year, of corporate polls targeted at certain parts of the Facebook audience because of the information they have posted on their pages, is likely to infuriate privacy campaigners.

Last week Mark Zuckerberg, the company's 24-year-old founder and chief executive, showed the audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos how the social networking site could be used to poll specific groups of users.

He asked users in Palestine and then Israel about peace issues before relaying the results back to the audience within minutes. He also polled more than 100,000 American users of the website, asking them whether they thought President Obama's fiscal stimulus package would be enough to resurrect the economy. Two out of five said it was not enough.

Giving consumer brands the chance to use such a wide audience to get a quick response to targeted questions would do away with, or at least reduce their reliance on, expensive and time-consuming focus groups.

Speaking to well known tech blogger Robert Scoble at the event, Zuckerberg said 2009 will be Facebook's "intense" year as it tries to justify some of the mammoth valuations that have been placed upon it by making some serious revenues through advertising. He was even seen sporting a tie, a sartorial extra which the Harvard drop-out has so far eschewed.

He added the company has been experimenting with analysis of user sentiment, tracking the mood of its audience through what they are doing online. Such information is potentially very interesting to large brands, which are always seeking to measure what their customers think about their own or competitors' products.

Facebook's advertising technology already allows advertisers to choose which sort of customer will see their ­display adverts when they log on to the site. Advertisers can choose from such ­categories as where the user is located and their age and gender, based upon what the user has uploaded on to Facebook – which is adding about 450,000 new users a day.

Last year, Facebook launched its Engagement Ads tool, which allows advertisers to publish a poll on people's home pages. They are then able to see how their friends and other Facebook users have voted. The polls, which can include actions such as watching and rating a movie trailer, are being tested by companies including AT&T and CareerBuilder.com.

The American recruitment website tonight used its trial Facebook polls to ask people what they thought of the advert that was played during the coverage of the 43rd Super Bowl. The first widespread use of polls is expected in the spring.

Facebook also has a tool called Facebook Lexicon, which is a bit like Google Trends, in that it allows users to track what topics are being discussed by people on Facebook. While Google Trends uses the search terms that are entered into its site, Facebook Lexicon looks at one of the most visible parts of a user's profile page – their wall, where people and their friends exchange public messages. It provides a searchable database of trends over time, showing how the incidence of particular words or phrases has increased or decreased in wall posts.

Facebook Lexicon shows that the company already has a significant database of user information which it could exploit and the tools are in place to allow companies to use its information for market research purposes.

Kinda saw this one coming, didn't we?
"a market research tool" - Uhuh. Yeah, that's it. That's all.
So what's the difference? We're never private.
Nothing's changed.
Fuck Napolitano!
Agreed...we're never private...just so sad that it too needs to be taken advantage of in suck a corporate way...

Fuck em all.. (oh woops...I'm feeling all miltant...)

I have jury duty to 'report to' tomorrow...It could be fun to not go and see how the hell that winds up, eh? Fun in my brain I guess...so..I'm not so militant at the moment after all I guess...

What do you have in the way of poetry right now?

Love and Anarchy in My Brain,
Oooooh...nice so-called Freudian I did there....



Me and P liked putting your 1979 picture next to the new one on lumpinprollie.blogspot.com

You guys rule! You punks! We need to do something together soon!...

Have you heard of punkglobe.com? Ginger Coyote creation..

Freudian? You mean "suck"? I thought you meant it that way (sump'n I would write) - "suck a corporate way."
I just wrote a sweat-drop-flying diatribe on The (SederSaloon) Blog about Rachel Maddow's corporate sellout. I don't know what's worse - Cheney/Bush vicious unraveling or Clinton/Gore slow erosion.. I'm worried (like you, I think) that we're headed for a bout of the latter with the New Anointed.
Aww - Go and do the Jury thing. It's a trip. When I was twenty-four, I went to France with my sister and mother and did a whole cave-painting and cathedral tour. As destructive and nasty as the One Church was in the days of their construction, the cathedrals themselves reverberate with the souls of the men and women who thought, dug, piled, wove, chiseled, and glazed as part of their work days for the One Single Corporate Employer. The tangible beauty of their traditional crafts comes across like a conversation with another human from very far away - but human.
There's a lot of traditional folderol that goes on in jury duty, but the people (ideally the defendent's peers) are not too much different from you - just standing in a different place.
If the the plaintiff is someone who lost a foot because of corporate malfeasance, she needs the people on the jury. Think Lily Ledbetter. If the defendent is someone wrongly accused of shooting a cop, he needs you and your good brain to help understand his argument.
Otherwise, a political appointee or an elected human commodity may decide the case.
We need juries - emergency brakes upon total state power.
But - above all - have fun. I think you will if you're kind to the other poor schmucks (not quite sure what the gender-neutral yiddish word is) like us in the jury pool.
There go those sweat drops again.
Let's all (A, P, T, A) meet up in Capri in the spring.
Or in a dream.

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