Feeds

Facebook turns pollster in search for cash

What do you look for in a washing powder... bitch?

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Facebook's top brass have been at the World Economic Forum in Davos, punting another way to try to turn their enormous database of personal information and trivia profitable.

Like last year's disastrous "Beacon" advertising scheme, which aimed to turn members into Tupperware-style product endorsers, Facebook's latest wheeze isn't particularly innovative. Executives at the loss-making firm plan to charge brands for carrying out polls of their users.

The system will tap the well of personal information pumped into Facebook by members, allowing corporations to target members in specific age groups and locations, and with specific interests.

There's no word on what this service will cost the marketing department at Global Omnicorp, but according to Randi Zuckerberg, sister of founder Mark, they're super-psyched about it. "I had tonnes 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."

Facebook is apparently aware that in attempting to sell its users, it has to sell them as people worth paying to access. "The vast majority are not just college students in the US talking about things in their bedrooms," Randi Zuckerberg said. "We are showing how we are a serious and insightful community."

Demonstrating that seriousness and insightfulness, Facebook asked 120,000 US members whether they believe Barack Obama's complex fiscal stimulus plans would work. Almost 60 per cent of the selected swivelchair economists said they wouldn't.

Insightful. It's like normal market research, then, except a bit quicker, and with worse sampling methodology. AT&T has signed on to trial the polling system, separate to another commercial initiative dubbed "Engagement Ads", which Facebook has been tinkering with since August.

The pressure on Facebook to show a return on the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in its storage and bandwidth is growing. The recession is likely to reduce the rates social networks are able to charge for ad space, already lower than other online media because users click more rarely. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.