Friday, December 23, 2011
By: Angela Render
Here’s a new twist on advertising. In their last major update, Facebook enabled the ability for brands to attach ads to that scrolling news feed along the right hand column of the page.
It works like this:
Essentially, Facebook sold your comments.
I’m not certain about you, but I never paid attention to that stream in the first place. I must not be alone because as of January 2012, those ads will start showing up in the coveted regular news feed. Now these things will show up front and center. Not only that, but the ads will be attached to “Page likes, Page posts, Page post likes, check-ins, app shares, apps used, games played, and domain stories.”
Were I not so personally outraged by the annoyance and by the theft of my clever wit and writing skills (I do get paid to write Ad copy from time to time. Where’s my compensation?) I might think this was a clever idea. After all Facebook and brands are capitalizing on research, demographics, profiling, distribution, and ad copy creation all supplied by the consumer. Frankly, that’s brilliant and this is one of the only times in history that a brand can actually directly influence viral marketing.
While no one’s challenged Facebook yet on lost revenue from their writing (or professional photographers, artists, or models for lost revenue on their images), there is a California legal challenge based on a privacy statute that prevents a person’s photo or name to be used in a paid advertisement without the person’s consent. Facebook has been undeterred.
What can be done as a consumer?
Not much. “There’s no way to opt out of seeing or appearing in sponsored stories. Your only option is to click on the “X” in the upper right corner of each individual ad to remove it.” or, you can unlike the brand and pressure your friends to do the same.
A warning to brands:
While Facebook claims that it plans to have rate limits so that only one sponsored story per day shows up and that they’re clearly labeled, be very careful. Putting your face on people’s comments might eventually cause all but your most ardent admirers to unlike you because unliking is the only recourse they have (very binary if you think about it). Mind your P’s and Q’s.