Facebook’s Social Ads & Privacy

A rather big discussion erupted on using Facebook members’ names and pictures for making ‘social ads’. You read things like:

Daniel Solove, an associate professor of law at George Washington University law school, blogged that Facebook “might be assuming that if a person talks about a product, then he or she consents to being used as an advertisement for it. It is wrong to assume that just because a user visits a Web site or rates a product highly or speaks well of a product that the user wants to be featured in an ad.”

Now to put it quite simply, this guy doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. Sure, he understands laws and surely he understands at least a little about the internet… However, times are changing, marketing is changing and he doesn’t get the concept that Facebook’s using.

Basically it’s a type of viral marketing, using the functionality of a Web 2.0 application. These ads should not be seen as any traditional ad we know. It links a user’s action to a product, but does not claim the user endorses the product. You see this a lot in blogs right now, where writers give their honest opinions about products. They may be very critical about it, but they will often offer affiliate links for all the skeptics.

Now my point is, the ads will most likely pop up in users’ news feeds as:

* Bas reviewed product X.
* Bas purchased product X.

This does not mean anything. Other users now have the opportunity to contact me to see what I think about the product, or read the review. In other words, if an advertiser doesn’t offer value, he will not make sales. This is the new marketing.

Showing these ads does not mean you endorse the product, it means exactly what they say; that you either reviewed or purchased the product. Nothing more, nothing less. And if Facebook can earn a little money from that, why not. Let’s not make an overcomplicated system with requests for endorsements everywhere, when it really isn’t necessary.

And hey, if a review inspires friends to give a product a chance, why not. It’s what we do anyway. When we see our friends walking around with certain products, we buy them (*cough* iPod *cough*). When we buy something from a shop, the vehicle for carrying it (usually a plastic bag) is an ad for the shop. You’re now advertising for the shop, only because you bought one product.

Let’s just stop being so scared and get ready for a transition, the old types of marketing stopped working – long ago. We’re finally recognizing this and now we have the opportunity to get some genuine recommendations, not from marketeers, but from our friends and family. This is both good for the consumer, as well as for the sellers of products who offer value. Bad value products; your best days are over.

Activism meets Web 2.0

Rethos.comSeems like activists are catching on to the power of web 2.0. I assume most of the readers here are familiar with Avaaz.org and their emails calling on people to sign petitions and send emails to representatives. Their method is rather conventional however and (dare I say) dated.

Good news. Rethos.com has opened up their beta to the public and aim to create a social environment for change, on a system that learns from its users. Users can read, post and share news articles, get organized, find jobs an opportunities, all in the name of change. Whether you care about ecology, human rights, freedom of speech or other issues, Rethos will let users work together for change on these points. I myself signed up because of them saying the following:

It is our duty to not let others turn a blind eye to pressing social and environmental issues. If enough people unite, change is inevitable.

This is exactly the way I felt when I was posting about Burma like 3 times a day (psst… the monks are protesting again). I hope this convinces you and you will sign up and come and add me as a friend. What really did it for me however, was their video. Have a look at it below.

So sign up now and visit my profile.


Check out this tool I found called ClipMarks. Let’s you easily make screenshots of what you want, so you don’t have to crop your print-screens, and it’s even easier to share your clippings. Go check it out!

clipped from clipmarks.com

Watch the demo on the right to see how
it works, or keep reading to learn more…

  blog it

Why you should use StumbleUpon, reason #2

Okay, another reason why you should use StumbleUpon is something that I started using a lot quite recently. I accidentally emailed my complete GMail addressbook recently with an invite to StumbleUpon, really hate it when that happens, but it resulted in a lot of people signing up. So now, when I’m surfing the web, I use this tool included in the Stumble bar, which is just awesome. It’s the “Send to” option. Basically, whenever you’re viewing a website and you know that a particular friend of yours would really like it, you can easily send it to this friend with two mouseclicks from the main browser window. No need to log into anything or other bull****. This friend can then view whatever’s recommended with just one mouseclick from the main browser window. It’s a really awesome tool that I want to start using more. So friends, acquaintances, readers… PLEASE sign up!

Go check out my profile, add me as a friend, I will do the same. After that, we can easily exchange links. No more hassle with instant messengers or emailing.

DailyMe Launches Public Beta

Looks like I won’t be giving out invitations after all.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 12:05 AM
I’m pleased to announce the launch of the DailyMe public Beta. This means our DailyMe news platform is now available to everyone.We’ve been working hard to be able to make this day happen. I’d like to thank all of our early Beta testers for their commitment, feedback and patience over the past months. Much of the DailyMe experience we are launching today is a direct result of the feedback that we have compiled from our initial Beta test group.

For those new to DailyMe, all you need to do to experience DailyMe is create an account and select your DailyMe preferences. It’s a short process that just takes a few minutes.

Briefly, DailyMe creates a personalized news digest based on your own preferences, using choices of news categories, keywords, individual news sources and pre-configured “picks.” You can choose to have DailyMe delivered on the web, sent via email or automatically output from your personal computer printer at a specified time of day.

Feel free to sign up and give DailyMe a try.

Lastly, one request. As you use and enjoy this Beta version of DailyMe, if you have any suggestions for the site, encounter any technical issues, or come across anything that is not 100% clear, please let us know so we can address it. We’ve set up a link on the sidebar where you can reach us directly.

Thanks for your interest in DailyMe.


Try it out people. I’ve been using it for a little bit now and it’s quite a nice system. Really has to separate itself from other personalized news pages though, when it comes to the web service that is. The options that you can automatically get it emailed, or printed are very cool. Besides that, Eduardo announced some cool stuff that will be available in the future:

As a result of such feedback, we’ll be:
– Looking into improvements and better explanations for the process of selecting content (step 2 of the sign-up process)
– Adding an open RSS reader to allow DailyMe users to add their preferred RSS feeds
– Offering more display options for your news page
– Adding more licensed sources

Sweet stuff, right?

One thing I don’t really get however, is the social bookmarking links at the bottom of articles on DailyMe. Thing is, I doubt that you can view any content without signing up, so what’s the point in SOCIAL bookmarking it?

If you’re interested, go check out the sign-up page now!

Soon you’ll be able to receive DailyMe throughout the day, where, when and how you’d like. Have your 9:00am DailyMe via email at your desk and your 6:00pm DailyMe printed automatically, easy for the grab and go commute.

The future of news. Share it.

Two Web 2.0 Tips!


Just found a really nice tool for shameless self-promotion. A simple tip to increase your SEO ratings.

Go to www.rss2twitter.com right now! If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, open up one. Basically, you can let RSS2Twitter export any RSS link straight to your Twitter (the Picasa one doesn’t seem to be working though). Easily increasing links back to your website. Encourage other people to do the same and who knows how fast you might rise in the indexes.

Here’s the next cool thing.

Selecting del.icio.us tags for your site

If you’ll have a look at the bottom of the menu on the right on this page please, you’ll see that I have links to some of my bookmarks there. If you click through to my del.icio.us account (add me!) however, you’ll see that I’m bookmarking a lot more. Have a look here: http://del.icio.us/Spartz/baslife. These are the links that are exported to my site by adding an RSS feed widget to my blog. This specific site (everything tagged ‘baslife’ by ‘Spartz’ (me)) is automatically aggregated to this page. Ain’t that sweet?

Like it? Stumble it!Add this to your del.icio.us!

Tag drafting

Just came across a very interesting notion called “tag drafting”. Most of us are familiar with sites like del.icio.us, stumbleupon and Technorati (if not, join the revolution today) and are developing our own ways for using these sites effectively.

Here’s another philosophy to increase your efficiency and effectiveness in finding interesting sites. Drafting is a phrase also used in racing, where it means that cars get behind each other (especially at high speeds) to decrease air resistance. Tag drafting is essentially the same thing, using the momentum of tags to find information in an efficient way. You basically keep an eye on a particular topic, let’s say “internet”, but it’s more effective to filter out what you want (eg. “internet + law + blogs”) so that you get a rather specific feed of what you want… because, the great thing about all these web 2.0 sites is they have RSS feeds, so you can easily keep an eye on these self-created channels.

You could also start tagging a lot and after a while some sites will recommend similar users to check out (StumbleUpon does this). Keep an eye on these users… because soon you won’t have to do any searching for yourself anymore and these users (who all have their RSS feeds) will provide everything for you.

Quite a simple way to do things, I was already doing it, but the phrase tag drafting is just great for it, because it describes exactly what it is.

For more, check out another post from the same blog where Sean goes into the Visualization of Tag Drafting: