This extraordinary post is by my friend Tommy Walker. Tommy is an Online Marketing Strategist and has been doing various forms of internet marketing since 2005. His final calling came from being fired over a pair of
He spends an obscene amount of time online; if when away from the computer you’ll most likely find him singing karaoke or networking at a local Tweet-up. You’ll find more rousing snarkiness on twitter:
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported…
“Many of the most popular applications, or “apps,” on the
social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying
information—in effect, providing access to people’s names and, in some
cases, their friends’ names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking
companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.”
…Putting Facebook in the spotlight yet again for “Privacy
This post is a rant.
Are Facebook apps really selling you out? Or does “Facebook in Privacy Breach” sound like a headline designed to grab attention?
I vote for the latter.
If you read the article, you would get the impression that Facebook was previously unaware of a very large security hole.
“The information being transmitted is one of Facebook’s basic building blocks: the unique “Facebook ID” number assigned to every user on the site. Since a Facebook user ID is a public part of any Facebook profile, anyone can use an ID number to look up a person’s name, using a standard Web browser, even if that person has set all of his or her Facebook information to be private. For other users, the Facebook ID reveals information they have set to share with “everyone,” including age, residence, occupation and photos.”
But look again at the image above. “Request for Permission… Access my basic information… name, picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information I’ve shared with everyone.”
Alright, maybe I’m taking the wrong approach. I understand if you’re concerned about Facebook sharing your public information with app developers, and the developers then share your information with marketing firms. When it’s not made abundantly clear that is what is happening, it can seem shady, but in the end what harm does it do?
As a marketer, I am constantly looking for new ways to engage my target market. As a consumer, I hate advertisements that have nothing to do with me. If the data that I’m inputting into my profile helps other marketers of products that I might like, or find useful, so be it. In the end, I’m not being blasted with crap and the marketing firm isn’t wasting their money. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a win-win situation.
In fact, I wish that all marketing agencies had access to my profile information. I wish that advertisements were tailored to my interests. I wish I could stop getting irrelevant direct mail, and that I could get “special offers” for products that my existing interests pre-qualified me for.
God what a wonderful world that would be! I wouldn’t have to search for things I like, because marketers wouldn’t be wasting their budgets on unqualified people. They would be targeting me, and I would want what they have.
Here’s another way to look at it- You know Pandora ? You know how they help you discover new music based on music you already specify that you like? Imagine that’s how all marketing worked. You only see ads for products you might like based on your other interests. How much informed do you think your purchases would be? If the marketer knows that you’re going to want to do more research, if they’re smart, they’ll have the research available to you. Furthermore, they’ll use what they know about you and other’s like you to know how to present that research, so not only will you have what you’re looking for to make an informed decision, you’ll have it in a format that appeals to you.
What do you think? Is personalized advertising the way of the future? Or should the marketing community continue to doing the same thing it’s been doing?