Feeds

Facebook turns pollster in search for cash

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

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.