There are numerous articles on the Web about the Facebook IPO fiasco, which ended up making money for only a very few insiders. I had wondered—from the outset—how the geniuses behind this social networking giant figured on monetizing their website.
The secret way, of course, would be to sell private user information to businesses. The public way would just be to sell advertising. How original!
Compare search engine advertising, which targets people actually looking for a particular product or service to Facebook's plan, which at best can only target vague demographics, who may or may not have any intention of buying anything. And, as it is, with more users accessing Facebook via smart phones, the ad possibilities are even more limited.
More than that, people are making way too much of all this personal data coming from Facebook's users. What, pray tell, is a marketer really going to do with it? Perhaps the technology does exist to intercept messages indicating an imminent purchase, which will then broadcast a relevant ad at that moment. How do you think the average consumer would react to such an incredibly intrusive move?
Advertising is only tolerated when it can be ignored, and that proverb seems to have been lost on the brain trust. Maybe Zuckerberg should propose a paid version of Facebook with no ads. Then, we would see just how essential Facebook really is. At least the spammers "like" it.