Is Facebook Readying Its Secret Ad Weapon Vs. Google?

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From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

It looks like Facebook is getting ready to add a new button to let people signal not just what they “like,” but what they “want.”

Software developer Tom Waddington flagged the possibility on his blog on June 27, but we all just got around to noticing it yesterday and today. The button is disabled right now, and Facebook isn’t saying anything about it, but  Waddington thinks it could become the basis for a sort of universal wishlist that developers and sites could get access to.

This could prove to be a pretty big deal for a company whose challenge before and after its initial public offering has been persuading marketers–and investors–that its advertising works. Although many examples have surfaced that seem to indicate the value of Facebook ads, one central doubt remains, especially vs. Google, the king of online advertising: Can Facebook ads ever provide an indication of purchase intent that’s anything close to that of search ads?

A “want” button would add to the wealth of data about Facebook users’ interests, demographics, location and, yes, likes. Because it’s an indication of something people clearly desire, it gets a lot closer to the surpassing value of Google’s AdWords system, widely acknowledged by marketers as one of the most concrete indications of intent to buy, and buy soon. …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

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Reid Hoffman: Web 2.0 Is About Data

Reid Hoffman, superangel extraordinaire and LinkedIn chairman, is talking data at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. Just a few minutes, but he’s one person you always want to listen to. He’s being interviewed by Liz Gannes.

Web 2.0 is about real identity. The platform part of it will be data. This is where some massive innovation will happen that will transform our lives.

Everyone is a participant in what some call data exhaust. Now that data exhaust can be mashed up in lots of ways that will create a lot of value. It’s happening already, but I think it will happen a lot more in the next five years.

It will be pulling a number of different data sources together. Some will be open, some closed. (But) Good Internet companies do not ambush their users.

Q: Will a lot of data sets be closed? You’re going to have some really tightly held data sets. We already do–credits cards, etc. There will also be very open data sets.

Q: Are there going to be ways to have more decentralized data services that are controlled by users? A general principle is to only ask for the data when you have a specific value proposition that requires that. So LinkedIn doesn’t ask about gender.

Take services like Mint. They provide analytics about where you’re spending, how your spending patterns compare to others–it’s a value proposition that’s clear.

Q: How many of your Greylock fund investments fit into this data thesis? All of them eventually will. All of them will be developing interesting features off the data.

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