Will Facebook share the wealth they make from your social graph?

February 4, 2009

20071102104425backhander_istockj203jpgIt’s one thing to make money from adverts served to and targeted at your audience based on their behavior and connections on your site. Most people accept that this is how sites like Facebook intend to kick start a revenue stream. We allow sites to serve us adverts based on our preferences, past behavior, groups we join, friends we have and interests we disclose under the knowledge that this is now happening across the web on most advertising funded websites.

Now we’re told (via the Telegraph) that Facebook has a new revenue model, by turning the platform into a tool corporates can use for market research. Facebook will (says the Telegraph) allow companies to selectively target Facebook users to research their new products. They say companies will be able to pose questions to selected members, using the social network as a kind of straw poll. That’s great for companies, it can take a long time to get the right people selected for a survey or focus group, but you can make the selection process much quicker when you have access to the kind of data Facebook has about users.

So, what incentive for the users? I don’t know about you, but if I start getting random questions popping up in Facebook from brands who want my opinion I’m unlikely to respond unless I feel there’s some value in me doing so. If brands are going to use me to improve their product offering; and out of that Facebook is going to make some money, then should they be paying users for their time and opinions?

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