[FoRK] I've joined the modern era

Adam L Beberg beberg at mithral.com
Sun Feb 1 15:37:18 PST 2009

Corinna Schultz wrote on 2/1/2009 12:00 PM:
> On a whim, I signed up on Facebook. Wow, I feel 5 years younger!

Ha, Ha! They got you...


Gay or straight, your Facebook is their fortune
Rupert Neate and Rowena Mason
February 2, 2009

FACEBOOK is planning to exploit the vast amount of personal information 
it holds on its 150 million members by creating one of the world's 
largest market research databases.

In an attempt to finally cash in on the social networking site, once 
valued at $US15 billion ($23.6 billion), it will soon allow 
multinational companies to selectively target its members in order to 
research the appeal of new products. Companies will be able to pose 
questions to specially selected members based on such intimate details 
as whether they are single or married and even whether they are gay or 

The company, which has struggled to make money from advertising, has 
been demonstrating the benefits of its new instant polling tool to 
business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Randi Zuckerberg, the global markets director of Facebook and sister of 
its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, said multinational companies had been 
bowled over by the ability to receive real-time feedback from the site's 
millions of users.

"I had tons 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," she said.

At the conference Facebook asked a range of questions of its users 
before feeding the answers back to delegates within minutes. It targeted 
users in Palestine and then Israel with the same question about global 
peace, before debating the results.

Marketing experts have said the vast amount of personal information 
Facebook holds may be worth "untold millions" to market research companies.

Facebook has sold the new polling system, called engagement ads, to 
CareerBuilder, a recruitment company.

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