Facebook's 'Open Graph' Targets Google Ad Dollars
If the intent of Facebook's Facebook's Open Graph any different than Google's Ad Preferences? Both are open source and both want to drill down to an
individual users' 'likes' so they can customize advertising to the pages
you visit on the Web. The only difference - with Google you can option
not to have your cookies tracked or OPT-OUT - while with Facebook, its
an OPT-OUT on your INSTANT PERSONALIZATION settings and an OPT-IN
process every time you hit a Facebook LIKE button
(which according to Facebook insiders, will be populating on Web sites
faster than bunnies on a hot summer day) .
The other major difference is Facebook's intent to supersede Google as the preeminent ubiquitous force on the Web. In essence, Zuckerberg and his tech cognoscenti want to rule the Web. Will all his talk about and Internet Utopia where 'transparency' and 'openness' are the guiding principles throughout the Web, his ulterior motive IMHO after viewing his Keynote address at the F8 Developers conference in San Francisco is that Zuckerberg wants the
control to build an online 'Advertising Empire.'
If you are 'drinking the kool-aid,' then you are buying into the premise that when Facebook adds a "like" button to web pages, they are altruistically doing this to 'customize' the online experience for the user. And they are able to accomplish this because you will be prompted by photos of your 'trusting' Facebook friends positioned adjacent to the "like" button. However that customization comes with a price tag. With every preference a user 'likes' will be coded to his or her Facebook profile providing the Open Graph to build up an arsenal of data as to what products and services are most appealing to each individual user.
In effect Facebook users will begin to see their identity and their friend's likes and dislikes follow them where ever they roam on the Internet, as long as they are already logged in to Facebook. And of course, that's exactly what Zuckeberg wants. The longer you keep your Facebook open, the more you are likely to spend time viewing similar ads on their site that are following you around on other Web sites. And isn't advertising all about receptiveness- that is - the more impressions, the greater likelihood of click-thrus and actual online purchases?
Facebook already has 400 million regular users worldwide and has set its sights on taking over from Google as the most visited website on the planet.
Zuckerberg interpreted this at the conference, in terms of a 'new way' to search the Web. To shift the onus from being a blatant advertising tactic, he refers to users 'liking' certain types of content that could pertain to news, politics, national events, etc. According to Zuckerberg, this in turn will be building a data-mine for users to no longer have a need to search on Google. Why? Because instead of using Google to search for potentially 'untrustworthy' results, Facebook's mighty 400 million will be guided in their choices by their 'trusted' friends.
Since Facebook has faced privacy issues in the past, they are very careful not to step over that line again. Although it's too soon to know exactly how the majority of the 400 million will react to the idea of their personal preferences following them around the Web, my belief is there will be some backlash.
Why does this matter? It matters because the data-mine that Facebook is cultivating has the power to dominate advertising on the Internet. To date, their site is estimated to have generated $500 million last year, but it's still dwarfed by Google and others in terms of total ad revenues. If Zuckerberg's Open Graph moves in the direction I am thinking - that $500 million will be a pittance in comparison to what they will generate in the foreseeable future. So, don't be too surprised in before the dawn of the next F8 conference, the new currency on the Web becomes "FACEBUCKS."