Dare's right about Facebook Beacon

One of the things I sorta tried to ignore over the past week has been the hubub about Facebook’s new advertising strategy. But it’s gotten too loud to ignore. This is evil. I’d write more, but Dare Obasanjo says it better than I could.

Facebook: rethink this feature and make it a LOT more clear about when things will share your buying behavior (and controllable).

Comments

  1. Hi Robert,

    I think we are not addressing the right issue. It is not about Beacon, SocialAds or privacy. The problem with Facebook and most other social networking sites is that their business model (free but ad-based) service fails to address user need. It leads to walled gardens and data hogging. It is masked by providing the user a “free” service. The cost at which it comes free, advertisement, is taken gladly by the user, because he does with it what he did in other media as well, he ignores it. And the user? He doesn’t care. He gets spoiled with “free” stuff, that isn’t free at all. But the bill isn’t payed by him, so who cares. It is the most worthless driver for a business model. If ignorance and indifference were the main driver for a web 2.0 company I’d fire the CEO and proclaim the main investors to be idiots!
    We need to get rid of this flawed business model and think user value instead. It would solve many of the current web 2.0 issues like data portability, privacy, identity etc.

  2. Hi Robert,

    I think we are not addressing the right issue. It is not about Beacon, SocialAds or privacy. The problem with Facebook and most other social networking sites is that their business model (free but ad-based) service fails to address user need. It leads to walled gardens and data hogging. It is masked by providing the user a “free” service. The cost at which it comes free, advertisement, is taken gladly by the user, because he does with it what he did in other media as well, he ignores it. And the user? He doesn’t care. He gets spoiled with “free” stuff, that isn’t free at all. But the bill isn’t payed by him, so who cares. It is the most worthless driver for a business model. If ignorance and indifference were the main driver for a web 2.0 company I’d fire the CEO and proclaim the main investors to be idiots!
    We need to get rid of this flawed business model and think user value instead. It would solve many of the current web 2.0 issues like data portability, privacy, identity etc.

  3. one may argue that the more targetted an ad becomes the closer it gets to being content. useful content. that only the targetted user can see.

    so the equation is:
    - i want free.
    - they need to make money.
    - they serve ads.
    - i get ads of value.
    - i start to logon for the site content and the ads.
    - the ads become more value to me than the content.
    - aaaaaaaaaarrrggh

  4. one may argue that the more targetted an ad becomes the closer it gets to being content. useful content. that only the targetted user can see.

    so the equation is:
    - i want free.
    - they need to make money.
    - they serve ads.
    - i get ads of value.
    - i start to logon for the site content and the ads.
    - the ads become more value to me than the content.
    - aaaaaaaaaarrrggh

  5. Facebook + Beacon = “The Matrix”

    All the users are “plugged in” from their pod cocoons generating “power” to run the matrix. In exchange you get a content blissful existence. Even if you discover “I’m just a battery!”, some users will choose to stay, other will not.

    Matrix Battery Pod = Facebook Profile

  6. Facebook + Beacon = “The Matrix”

    All the users are “plugged in” from their pod cocoons generating “power” to run the matrix. In exchange you get a content blissful existence. Even if you discover “I’m just a battery!”, some users will choose to stay, other will not.

    Matrix Battery Pod = Facebook Profile

  7. Robert -
    as much (mostly well-deserved) praise that you were giving to facebook daily a couple months ago, I really think you need to use your influence (or at least your blogs wide reach) to highlight this issue some more. What Facebook is doing is unnacceptable. Now, yes, you’ve called it “evil”. Now what? You went on a 12 minute rant where you were red in the face about the Amazon Kindle. Where’s your video rant for Beacon? Come on dude, GET ANGRY! SCOBLE SMASH!!! The privacy implications for this horrible program are far more important that whatever POS ebook reader Amazon introduced last week.

  8. Robert -
    as much (mostly well-deserved) praise that you were giving to facebook daily a couple months ago, I really think you need to use your influence (or at least your blogs wide reach) to highlight this issue some more. What Facebook is doing is unnacceptable. Now, yes, you’ve called it “evil”. Now what? You went on a 12 minute rant where you were red in the face about the Amazon Kindle. Where’s your video rant for Beacon? Come on dude, GET ANGRY! SCOBLE SMASH!!! The privacy implications for this horrible program are far more important that whatever POS ebook reader Amazon introduced last week.

  9. Robert – it’s so not evil… in fact beacon will go down as one the best things to happen to the news feed. The brilliance of FB is that the news feed captures and promotes behaviors passively promoting you to your friends. Including 3rd party sites was inevitable in the end will make the news feed that much richer and more valuable. Beacon’s going to be huge mark my words.

    My arguments here: http://www.sawickipedia.com/blog/2007/11/30/facebooks-beacon-program-isnt-the-spawn-of-the-devil-why-youll-grow-to-love-it-too/

  10. Robert – it’s so not evil… in fact beacon will go down as one the best things to happen to the news feed. The brilliance of FB is that the news feed captures and promotes behaviors passively promoting you to your friends. Including 3rd party sites was inevitable in the end will make the news feed that much richer and more valuable. Beacon’s going to be huge mark my words.

    My arguments here: http://www.sawickipedia.com/blog/2007/11/30/facebooks-beacon-program-isnt-the-spawn-of-the-devil-why-youll-grow-to-love-it-too/

  11. Todd – yes, Beacon is a good idea, in theory. In fact, I kind of look forward to, for example, sharing my Blockbuster Online queue on facebook, without me having to do anything.

    But the rollout and implementation is downright destestable. To have users introduced to this product by logging into their Facebook account and seeing what they had bought the day before on overstock.com or ebay, and having no idea how facebook got that information is TERRIBLE for privacy and user expectations.

    This is CLEARLY a product that should be OPT-IN. No site should EVER assume that I want to share all my activity on that site with my public facebook news feed. To share information, you should have to go through this process:
    1) sign into facebook and go to your profile’s Beacon page, or “external websites” as I think they are calling it
    2) view a list of Beacon partners. Select the partners that you’re willing to have your information shared with. Maybe provide account information for those sites to facebook, or some kind of authorization process to link the 3rd party account to your facebook profile.
    3) when you are on the partner’s website and one of your actions on that site is going to be shared back to Facebook, there should always be a notice (not a 3 second, opt-out popup) that you can toggle on or off for EVERY ACTION

    you should NEVER be surprised at information that shows up on your public profile. But if you have information that you’re willing to share, then yes – use Beacon to share it, by all means

  12. Todd – yes, Beacon is a good idea, in theory. In fact, I kind of look forward to, for example, sharing my Blockbuster Online queue on facebook, without me having to do anything.

    But the rollout and implementation is downright destestable. To have users introduced to this product by logging into their Facebook account and seeing what they had bought the day before on overstock.com or ebay, and having no idea how facebook got that information is TERRIBLE for privacy and user expectations.

    This is CLEARLY a product that should be OPT-IN. No site should EVER assume that I want to share all my activity on that site with my public facebook news feed. To share information, you should have to go through this process:
    1) sign into facebook and go to your profile’s Beacon page, or “external websites” as I think they are calling it
    2) view a list of Beacon partners. Select the partners that you’re willing to have your information shared with. Maybe provide account information for those sites to facebook, or some kind of authorization process to link the 3rd party account to your facebook profile.
    3) when you are on the partner’s website and one of your actions on that site is going to be shared back to Facebook, there should always be a notice (not a 3 second, opt-out popup) that you can toggle on or off for EVERY ACTION

    you should NEVER be surprised at information that shows up on your public profile. But if you have information that you’re willing to share, then yes – use Beacon to share it, by all means