Why did Facebook tell Google “stay off our lawn?”

Well, we’ve fought about it. Made noise about it. And you’re witnessing two giants (Google and Facebook) fighting over our social networks. Here, let’s discover my social network:

Robert Scoble (Friend of:)

  • -Mike Arrington
  • -Louis Gray
  • -Sarah Lacy
  • -Kara Swisher
  • -About 4,997 other people

Now, why is this little tree so important? Why shouldn’t I be able to copy this little tree over to, say, FriendFeed or Twitter or Upcoming.org or Yelp or Flickr or Google’s Friend Connect?

Easy. There’s a TON of money in that little tree and the hundreds of millions of little trees that YOU have added into Facebook and MySpace and other places.

How do I know that? Well, there’s a little stealth company that I’ve started hearing about. Media6.

A friend told me about them. They figured out that if, say, Mike Arrington buys something, that his friends are two to 10 times more likely than the general public to buy the same thing. Take that into advertising on Facebook: if Mike clicks on, say, a CocaCola ad, Media6 knows that his friends are far more likely to click on that ad than the rest of the 100 million people on Facebook.

So what is Media6 doing? How are they building a database of all of this info? I hear they are making deals with all sorts of advertisers over on Facebook to have a little line of JavaScript added along with their advertisement. That is letting them build a super database of everyone and their friend networks (their social graphs).

This is what I don’t get about Facebook’s stance: I’ve already shown you two companies that are figuring out how to get access to Facebook’s social graph data without even getting on Facebook’s radar screen. The first is Minggl, who uses a toolbar to download all your social graph data to your browser where it’ll be a lot more useful to you and now we have Media6, who is building a huge database of you, and your advertising-clicking behaviors.

Now are you getting it? Advertisers will go to Media6 because they’ll be able to better match up ads with people who are much more likely to buy the stuff they are hawking.

I bet Facebook is building its own internal database of exactly the same data too.

Truth is your social graph tells the world a HUGE amount about you. Facebook doesn’t want you to move that other places easily.

Translation: there are billions of dollars at stake here.

56 thoughts on “Why did Facebook tell Google “stay off our lawn?”

  1. Robert,

    Thanks for all great posts.

    While the idea is very fascinating but only time will tell if they can really make money off it.

    Amazon have tried similar things for years. Some of them worked and others failed. Initially when I used to get junk mail from Amazon, it was exicting but after a while its annoying.

    Call me a old fashion but the whole idea of social computing is like communism – sounds great in theory but not practical. Not completely convinced yet.

  2. Robert,

    Thanks for all great posts.

    While the idea is very fascinating but only time will tell if they can really make money off it.

    Amazon have tried similar things for years. Some of them worked and others failed. Initially when I used to get junk mail from Amazon, it was exicting but after a while its annoying.

    Call me a old fashion but the whole idea of social computing is like communism – sounds great in theory but not practical. Not completely convinced yet.

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