free html hit counter When Will The Spammers Arrive, Facebook's Gone Big Time. (So where are they?) | John Battelle's Search Blog

When Will The Spammers Arrive, Facebook's Gone Big Time. (So where are they?)

By - November 07, 2007

My first big question on Facebook Ads: What’s in it for the average Facebook user? Dove right now has 35 fans. Saturn has about the same. I know, it’s been one day. But………when I used Google, there’s a value to me from the ads that is very very clear. Those ads were relevant, they were useful, they *added value to the dialog I was having with Google.* That value meant spammers came hard at the system, trying to game me into clicking on their links, but that was to be expected when so much value was out there in the open. Why aren’t there Facebook spammers? Well, because…there’s not any explicit value for the average Joe, is there? Or is there? What am I missing?

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  • anonymous

    Out of the 35 fans that Dove has, 24 belong to the Facebook network. Does this mean that Dove is a brand popular among Facebook employees and their associates? Or that Dove is popular among young, tech-savvy users?

  • http://vanelsas.wordpress.com Alexannder van Elsas

    Hi John, precisely why I think SocialAds are a very tricky business. I think that ads in the Facebook space will turn out to be a problem. Facebook users will tend to see their profiles as their private space (like a home), if they get harrassed too much by ads Facebook will have problems with the louder Facebook fans. I can already see the first Facebook group being created “Stop harrassing me: ban the ads” or something like that. Whereas when I am searching on Google, ads are fine. If google can match my needs at that moment I won’t mind.

  • Grant

    I don’t see what is in it for Facebookers. Here, they produce all this content AND they provide valuable information (namely, friends and family with similar interests) and they don’t get a piece of the pie?

  • Soren G

    Well, the value is that for us to use sites, like this one and Facebook without paying any money, we must endure ads. The more relevant those ads are to what i am interested in, the less intrusive they feel.

    So as I wrote this post, I see copies of John’s book advertised on both the right and left on the screen. I have already read the book, so it feels more like an ad than an invitation.

    What if there was a little button I could push that said, “Not interested,” then it would flip to another one, maybe a similar book i have not read. Would I bother to do so — I don’t know, but if users want things for free, then ads are going to be there, and why not make them as relevant as possible? Question for Facebook is how much privacy are people willing to give up for this?

  • Grant

    I have ads on my site too (grantingersoll.com and I hope they are relevant) but here’s the big difference. I get a cut of the ads for all the work I do creating the content that makes those ads targeted to my readers just like John does on this site (in fact, he gets two cuts for the book sale, I’m sure. One as an Amazon affiliate and the other as an author.)

    Facebook users are producing all of this valuable content and bringing referrals (i.e. friends) and are not getting a penny from it. I would bet users would feel less alienated by the ads if they knew they were getting a cut.
    I think you could also make the reverse argument about you’re quote:
    “I don’t know, but if users want things for free, then ads are going to be there”
    To me, Facebook and the advertisers are getting something way more valuable than the users ever get. Namely, they get warm (if not hot) leads and a warm lead is way more valuable than 20 cold leads, I suspect.

  • George Z

    Great post John
    You bring up a great point, Where are the spammers?
    Well spammers only look at the bottom line; MONEY, they will only spam what is worth spamming and i guess facebook is not even worth spambots time of day.
    Facebook is prone to fail; unless they manage to reinvent the internet as we know it, their own browser, payment system, mobile devise software, Ad delivery…
    they might be able to attract major fortune 500 companies to display banners and maybe create product fan site but this will dry up very quickly after the PR buzz starts to shine on another fad.
    The same way the riped open source software to create Facebook, and the same way they intruded user privacy by importing their existing email accounts contacts and then spammings those,, ( only adult industry would do this) they will succumb to Googles wrath

  • Dan

    It’s easy enough to “game” Facebook ads, but it’s the individual users who have to choose to do it.

    Just by modifying your likes, interests, etc, you can effectively opt out of (or into) different ads. As an experiment, I’ve gummed up my page with false trivia and created a group – Fun with Facebook Ads – to encourage others to do the same.

    It’ll be interesting to see what kind of ads I get in the next few months.

    Also, has anyone yet advertised exclusively to Facebook employees? After going through the steps of creating a social ad, I found about 500 of them and became seriously tempted. . .