Social Advertising, bah!

A lot has happened since I posted about Facebook Ads, in fact, Facebook themselves further developed their ad platform adding what is now called “Beacon,” Facebook Pages which allow businesses to create a page on Facebook to advertise from instead of using a profile and of course, Social Ads.

All of this is supposed to layer on another dimension to targeted advertising and make us want to click the ads.

Of course, a lot of privacy groups don’t think so. In fact,, an online advocacy group, has already started protests against Beacon even creating a Facebook group to petition against it.

I don’t have very good feelings about social advertising, especially as Facebook is implementing it. Since even if Beacon were to go away, the Social Ads part of Facebook appears mixed up with your news feed. This is as bad as Google’s text link ads which can appear unobtrusively in a blog post or article you’re reading.

Another annoying social ad is people using Twitter streams to advertise. And doing it badly.

Case in point? Saawariya, a Bollywood movie decides to create a twitter stream. All well and good, but how does it publicise it? By following all the Indian users on Twitter. This doesn’t mean they follow the Twitter stream back, but when someone goes to the Saawariya stream and hits the “With Others” link, it shows you the Saawariya updates along with public updates from all the people Saawariya is following! So while your updates may have been public, you probably didn’t know that so many people could see your updates, huh?


  1. I agree about the facebook ads, and lately have been reading some disturbing hints about their privacy policy as well. I’ve been reading about what I guess now was Beacon and just a little taken aback by it all.

    But your last paragraph really makes no sense. By definition a public stream means that literally anyone can see your updates. Now granted, your point is more that your updates can be seen via someone else’s account, but how is a movie advertising with twitter any different than the many “bloggers” who follow anyone they can in hopes of getting return followers?

  2. My point was two-fold.

    Yes my stream is public. But the way that Twitter presents the “With Others” stream is with updates from everyone that the user is following. So it seems like either I am a friend of that user or that I endorse the movie/user in some way. I wouldn’t want to be associated in any way with this movie, but if I didn’t block the user from adding me on Twitter, it might look like I’m actually interested in it! Especially since the URL for that stream is “/with_friends”

    But the other point I was making was precisely what you’ve said. They’re adding a bunch of people on Twitter in the hope that some of them might add back and my point was that this is a stupid way of trying to get people to follow your updates.

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