Posts with tag "Facebook"

Why are we giving ourselves away for free

Copyright this! I have often wondered why it is that we will so willingly give away our personal information for free to some fancy facade of an ad network called social networks when we wouldn’t dream of doing the same to our governments unless demanded by law.

Rick Mahn apparently also wonders the same thing in a post yesterday as he asks

Why can’t they license this data just like they license marketing research data? Why can’t they pay me royalties for my data?  Instead we all give them this valuable information.

I had previously raised the same idea when I suggested that the day may come when we start seeing people trademarking or copyrighting themselves. After all why should Facebook be worth $15Billion off of free information – shouldn’t we be getting a cut of that instead of being guinea pigs for a Google AdSense killer.

A Pandemic of Beacons

Facebook ... it's all about the money Either Facebook is having a lot of fun with leaking stuff out to various bloggers or there is in fact two possible projects underway within the Facewall. The first, which we hear from TechCrunch [via ParisLemon], is Project Beacon which will be shining the light on ‘bookers buying habits should they agree to have it shown; which raises an interesting question about what happens if they don’t .. does that information still stay within Facebook databases. The second project being reported on by VentureBeat is a project called Pandemic which apparently will screw with the current advertisers and developers trying to make their fortunes from Facebook members.

The idea behind Project Beacon apparently from has been leaked to TechCrunch would involve targeted ads within and any purchases made outside of Facebook could be advertised to your friends within Facebook. Now I don’t know about you but this idea has got to be one of the dumbest I have heard of in a while; but then if you are the type that just needs to show off I guess it suits the purpose.

The second project which has apparently been leaked to Eric Eldon at VentureBeat is potentially nothing short of a slap in the face to all Facebook developers and I personally think makes a joke of the recent fund Facebook setup to fund developers of Facebook apps. From what Eric says the Pandemic project will be removing the popular sponsored groups and replace them with pages that advertisers can buy.

These pages can contain games or other applications of the advertisers choosing however many of the applications which Facebook has already developed in house will be replacing or competing directly with the current batch of popular 3rd party applications.

So come Tuesday when all these big announcement are to be made we’ll get to see how badly Facebook is going to screw the developers that have helped make Facebook popular and we’ll see how much of your informational soul they are going to be marketing down the river to fill their bank accounts even more. Either way it strikes me that Facebook doesn’t care who they stomp on or how they use your information as long as they can get richer in the process …. so much for a social network.

A Do-Not-Track list … Why?

what is the point when we give our information away for free anyway I’m kind of at a loss here. I don’t know whether to laugh or cheer. On one hand part of me thinks that this is a good idea for those folks out there that don’t like seeing their information being thrown into databases around the web to be data mined for the financial benefit of those holding the information. Then the other part of me is still rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.

Is this the same web that has people signing up left and right in all kinds of social networks etc and providing information the majority of us wouldn’t even give to the government. On top of that we constantly update that information almost every day; if not multiple times of the day. Is this this same web where we freely give away our information so we can use a multitude of web based software were again we don’t own the data. The idea of having something as inane Do-Not-Track list seems almost laughable under the whole philosophy of Web 2.0 and social networks.

While Steve Rubel considers this whole Do-Not-Track thing as a part of a larger issue of behavioral targeting that is coming into vogue with advertisers we have on the other side of the coin Marshall Kirkpatrick suggesting that such a list could end up hurting us more than helping. Myself I just see this as ludicrous situation where we have those who would give away their informational soul for free stuff on one side and people who value their personal information above everything else on the other.

Even with the recent resurgence of calls about how bad cookies are (like I haven’t seen this nonsense before) and attacks against the Whois system we have Facebook planning on unleashing a massive ad network for both inside and outside of Facebook that will rely on cookies. I’d be willing to bet that folks won’t give a rats ass about what Facebook is doing to be able to serve up those behavioral targeted ads as they surf the web – that is if they even leave the walled garden of Facebook – because look at all the free stuff they’re getting.

It is being proven everyday that people care less and less about what is being done with their information. Sure there is a small minority of of us netizens who still treasure our information and don’t hand it out wholesale but in the larger scheme of things it seems that people just don’t appear to care. It’s a case of here’s my info now give me the free stuff – even if it’s shit. Under these conditions the idea of a Do-Not-Track seems like nothing more than a joke to keep us distracted while we join yet another social network and a way for the goodie two shoes to feel good about the fact that they are yet again protecting us from ourselves.

Like Steve Rubel says … “Get yer popcorn. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

The Great Web 2.0 Con Job

It's nothing but a shell game One of the biggest selling points that Web 2.0 proponents like to wave about is the immense social change that it is going; or has brought about. It is the incredible democratization of our society that will forever change the way we interact with each other and the world at large. It is the warm and fuzzy on a global village scale were everyone knows your name and is your friend.

Well I have only one thing to say about this idealized rose colored view of the cyber-landscape – bullshit.

While the early players in this game may actually have had good intentions the reality is there is only one thing that drives the whole Web 2.0 framework and that is money. Google may have once been a search centric company but now they are a money driven public corporation that found advertising cleverly done was the ticket to incredible riches. They might cloak their money making efforts with a modicum of socially cool ideas but the fact is Gmail is free because no-body in their right mind would pay for a bland second rate email client. They will however let their information – regardless of the Google service used – be used to feed the Google advertising money machine.

Facebook is no different – it has just found a different way to get even more and better information from us that is going to drive their advertising money machine. This doesn’t even take into account the incredible fortunes that lay in the future for them as they really begin to data mine that rich treasure trove of personal information. After all once you give them all that information; and continually update it it daily, you do not own it anymore – they do and they can do anything they want with it. How much do you think politicians would be willing to pay for all that data come election time; or how about pharmaceutical companies or  … well you get the point. Facebook could potentially be sitting on a treasure worth more than Google and Microsoft combined and you gave it to them freely.

Even now start-ups in Web 2.0 aren’t looking for business models. Instead they are looking for exit strategies and hopefully before they have to start paying the piper. This is on top of the fact that outside the founding members of the whole Web 2.0 nonsense everything is just a copy with a new set of Web 2.0 color schemes. No-one is bringing anything new to the table let alone doing anything that will produce social changes.

To bring about any social change requires thinking outside of the box and incredible leaps of faith. Tim Berners-Lee did this when he and Robert Cailliau invented the world wide web – our world has never been the same since. Shawn Fanning of Napster and the YouTube trio of Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim have forever changed how we deal with audio and video. Along the way they have totally changed the whole entertainment business. That is social change and I don’t care how many copycats in new suits come along they don’t care one wit about making social changes – they only care about the exit strategies and the pot of gold at the end of the VC rainbow.

Another fantasy of Web 2.0 is how it will change the corporate computing landscape with the proliferation of yet again bland second rate applications. Well as Rick Mahn quite rightly pointed out in a post today

…. but the reality is that a lot of these “fun” technologies simply do not solve a business need.  That is one problem with technology.  As soon as the fun starts to evaporate and you start serious talk about monitization, the trouble starts.

If you think that things like Zoho and Google Docs is even close to being applications that are capable of running daily operations of Fortune 500 corporations or mission critical governmental organizations then you better head to the grocery store and stock up on your kool-aid. Thinking that corporations really give a damn about some silly ass web service that lets you nudge someone or send them a slice of pizza is nothing short of brain dead optimism.

Web 2.0 only cares about one thing and that is making as much money as they can – however they can – from all that information you hand over freely with every passing day. They don’t care about effecting social changes because that take originality and idealism neither of which is overly abundant in Web 2.0. You can put lipstick on a pig but that doesn’t change the fact you are still dealing with a pig.

Social change isn’t fun – it is painful and usually costs lots of money; either directly or indirectly, which is the anathema of today’s who’s got the most billions from their startup buyouts. Web 2.0 is our modern day case of the Emperor’s Suit which people are slowly discovering is not all that it is cracked up to be. They may not understand the feeling that is beginning to creep in around the edges of the bubble but they know something is happening.

Myself I do believe whole heartily that the web and technology can still effect great social changes but not as long as we continually get distracted by catch phrases like Web 2.0 which are nothing more that cool catchy marketing terms. Funnily enough and even though Robert Scoble might have declared them dead and boring I do think that blogs can play an important part in any future social changes. I even think that the Web 2.0 darling Twitter can be more than a bit player. The future social fabric of our society will depend on more that Facebook nudges or pat on the back groups. It will depend on more than bland second rate web applications that feed monstrous advertising money machines. It will depend on more than us snacking on bite size morsels of information.

As long as we keep falling for this illusion of how Web 2.0 is going to change the world though the kool-aid makers will keep getting rich off of us, the technological divide will continue to grow and social change will continue to be a marketing catch phrase used to further fleece us of our information.