Below is an interesting article from The Sydney Morning Herald. I am just terrified of the prospect of ignoring targeted ads in the future.
Facebook is planning to exploit the vast amount of personal information it holds on its 150 million members by creating one of the world’s largest market research databases.
In an attempt to finally cash in on the social networking site, once valued at $US15 billion, it will soon allow multinational companies to selectively target its members in order to research the appeal of new products. Companies will be able to pose questions to specially selected members based on such intimate details as whether they are single or married and even whether they are gay or straight.
The company, which has struggled to make money from advertising, has been demonstrating the benefits of its new instant polling tool to business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Randi Zuckerberg, the global markets director of Facebook and sister of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, said multinational companies had been bowled over by the ability to receive real-time feedback from the site’s millions of users.
“I had tons of people saying ‘this could be so incredible for our business’. It takes a very long time to do a focus group, and businesses often don’t have the luxury of time. I think they liked the instant responses,” she said.
At the conference Facebook asked a range of questions of its users before feeding the answers back to delegates within minutes. It targeted users in Palestine and then Israel with the same question about global peace, before debating the results.
Marketing experts have said the vast amount of personal information Facebook holds may be worth “untold millions” to market research companies.
Facebook has sold the new polling system, called engagement ads, to CareerBuilder, a recruitment company.
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