it's a tough gig being facebook
; you are caught between a passionate user base who assume you are a public service, who react badly to any commercialization and business partners/shareholders who require some sort of ROI.
i guess their new ad model is an attempt to steer a course between these two conflicting groups. there is alot of chat about this on the message boards and blogs
and it seems to be edging towards condemnation, based around big brother and rights from its largely student US base, but not a small amount of admiration too.
i don't think this will be an advertising panacea and they have not done a google. google fundamentally changed the market by defining the market as a "when" not a "who". demography means little when someone is actively searching for your brand or product. facebook have not really changed the market to this extent but none the less done something interesting.
i am a big advocate of advertising being relevant, the audience then selecting to bring it in, and ultimately recommending.
with facebook ads they allow brands to be much more targeted than any main stream and possibly broadcast digital media, they enable the audience to hand raise, be advocates and it spits out some fantatsic learnings. this really put the onus on brands and advertisers to have something useful/interesting/amusing to say/do. nothing earth shattering, the are just doing what we have always tried to do but better.
beacon is however quite interesting. as online you don't exist, you have to write yourself into being. you are define by your friends, your comments and your wall posts. some brands have tapped into this by providing social media apps to allow this. fb have taken this to a new level and turned it commercial: you see a brand you like on another web site and click the beacon button to add to your profile as a brand supporter.facebook ad model giles rhys jones google vs facebook