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Facebook Praise Up, Value Up, Advertising Up, Scams Up, Privacy Gone

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Facebook is almost passing Google recognition and almost hitting Beatles fame, or so it would seem given recent press coverage. Though at some point Google may downplay some element of the celebrity as link bait, Facebook is countering some heavy problem press.

"Facebook is generating profits at a faster-than-expected rate, and will likely attract so many investors this year that it will have to disclose financial data similar to a publicly traded company by April 2012, according to a document distributed by Goldman Sachs," Reuters reported. The shares will not be sold within the United States - increasing intrigue and a scramble by foreign investors.

The Golden Globes awarded The Social Network all came with praise for Mark Zuckerberg and further cache for Facebook.

Meanwhile problems with the sharing of phone and address had Facebook making a fast retreat. But we now know they store and are aware of the information's value. Now add to that the outing of an advertiser that had 1.75 billion impressions and thus a very large ad buyer - given the numerous ways to gather the info is detailed at the Facebook Developer blog (the link is working when posted though am sure is dropped or negated soon) - and there is someone who no doubt knows the value of direct mail and telemarketing.

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Funny I do seem to have gotten a few new calls selling me things. No noticeable direct mail as yet.

Microsoft replied to ReadWriteWeb given the advertisers association with the Bing Affiliate program:
"Distribution deals and affiliate programs are an important part of how all search engines introduce their product to customers. That said, we have been made aware of some practices from a specific publisher that are not compliant with the guidelines, best practices and principles put in place by Bing. As a result, the relationship with this publisher will be terminated."

I remember those days of small search engines paying commissions to publishers, the engines advertising on sites and other engines to arbitrage traffic. Is it really surprising that someone would try it on Facebook on a big scale? There have been a number of books and sites selling 'how-to's on arbitraging the ads.

Facebook sold $1.86 billion in ads in 2010. "Not surprisingly, the majority of that, $1.21 billion, was earned inside the U.S.

But what is surprising is the majority of revenue, 60% or $1.12 billion, was earned from smaller companies in 2010, those more likely to be using self-serve tools rather than work through a media agency. That's greater than the $740 million coming from major marketers like Coke, P&G or Match.com<" Ad Age reported.

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"Facebook, the world's No. 1 Internet social network, earned $355 million in net income in the first nine months of 2010," Reuters reported.

"2010 was the year that Facebook firmly established itself as a major force not only in social network advertising but all of online advertising," said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

Who is the big spender at Facebook that Matt Cutts outed? "What is it? It's a paper-doll-type site that lets you put eyeglasses and mustaches on top of a funny looking baby's face. At least that appears to be what it is; before you can do anything the site says you have to install "a browser plug-in to present an enhanced experience." If you do so, according to the fine print, your browser's default search and home page will be switched to Bing. Once you do so, the affiliate company behind the toolbar, called Zugo, will capture a slice of the revenue whenever you click on a search ad," ReadWriteWeb noted.

Matt Cutts mentioned this and another similar site he found "makemeold.com too, which looks like the same people. I guess partnering with Bing is better than their old scheme, which apparently hit up cell phone owners with auto-recurring fees of $10-$20 each month" in a Google Buzz.

I have received a lot of invites to join Groups, Pages and various games that connect using the Facebook ID - how many of these have developers made to grab my info?

ReadWriteWeb was informed by Facebook that the company looked around inside its system and concluded that "make-my-baby is not an advertiser at all on Facebook and any affiliates that try to push people there we would shut down. Those ads would not be allowed as part of our policy."

However, as Guillaume Bouchard noted Facebook already was allowing targeting of advertisers through "certain interests and demographics" and when address and phone numbers are added - the process can build lists easily sold or rented.

The Hill notes that according to security experts many people do not care about these issues. ""The social aspects of the system overcome the privacy concerns for individuals," Bruce Schneier, a security technologist told the Hill.

International privacy issues are sure to follow. In 2010 they ran in to some. "Facebook was forced to "drastically simplify" its privacy controls. The move came in response to international criticism of the site's increasingly complex systems for users to decide what aspects of their data are available online," the UK Telegraph reported.

The occasional problem does not seem to phase fast growing internet brands. People just know they are always there. In articles, news, bloigs, tv shows and now even movies. Users should beware.


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