Will semantic web ads arrive before the semantic web?
November 7, 2007, 10:54 am
Filed under: ads, advertising, Facebook, media, semantic web

Though the concept is hardly new, Facebook’s announcement yesterday that it would begin to tailor ads to users online behavior rankles some. People have been proposing this idea for several years… most don’t have enough user data to make a go of it, and most don’t have the high profile that Facebook does. The thought that a corporation backed by Microsoft and worth nearly a Trillion dollars (yes, a slight exageration but that’s another topic) would monitor an individual’s actions or interests and delivery ads based on that informations seems somehow sinister…

But, hold the phone, isn’t that exactly what Google is doing by offering up ads in its search pages? OK, a narrow case because you are asking for specific information when Google responds for related ads. More broadly, isn’t the whole concept of the semantic web based upon the delivery of information you are interested in based on a knowledge of your past behavior? Would you rather get a slew of ads that you have no interest in? Sure we would all rather get no ads at all,… or maybe not.

How many of the gadgets you love or the clothes you wear came to your attention first through ads? No, we don’t want to hear about erectile dysfunction anymore, and no, we don’t need to see any more ads for home equity loans, but I do want to hear about Halo 3 or WoW (don’t play, wish I had tme, just enjoy the ads). I do want to see the latest consumer electronics (sports celebs not needed, thanks), and I do want to learn about new music, art, and events without having to track it all down myself.

So yes, Facebook, please serve me ads based upon what I am interested in, just don’t get too good at it… it would be nice to learn about something I’m not already interested in every once in awhile….

Facebook announcement AP coverage in the Boston Globe