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(ABC)   With all the hype over Facebook's IPO, one question is starting to be asked quietly again and again... what exactly does Facebook *do*?   (abcnews.go.com) divider line 46
    More: Interesting, IPO, Facebook, Emarketer  
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998 clicks; posted to Business » on 16 May 2012 at 1:00 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-16 10:55:39 AM
I thought Facebook saves the government millions... Link
 
2012-05-16 11:18:24 AM
Looking foward to someone posting some sneering version of "YOU ARE FB'S PRODUCT, YOU ARE NOT ITS CUSTOMERS, WAKE UP SHEEPLE" than having no follow-up to explain what the hell that means except that FB has ads, which is apparently a novelty on the Internet.
 
2012-05-16 11:26:55 AM

BunkoSquad: Looking foward to someone posting some sneering version of "YOU ARE FB'S PRODUCT, YOU ARE NOT ITS CUSTOMERS, WAKE UP SHEEPLE" than having no follow-up to explain what the hell that means except that FB has ads, which is apparently a novelty on the Internet.


Its not the ads. Its the aggregate data which is sold to companies who may or may not advertise on FB. That aggregate data is used to market everything from political candidates to boner pills.
 
2012-05-16 11:36:12 AM

quickdraw: Its not the ads. Its the aggregate data which is sold to companies who may or may not advertise on FB. That aggregate data is used to market everything from political candidates to boner pills.


Well, as somebody who's voluntarily using their free website, I still don't understand what it is I'm supposed to be so alarmed about.
 
2012-05-16 11:58:43 AM
www.luminomagazine.com

Well...well, look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills. I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?
 
2012-05-16 12:05:35 PM

BunkoSquad: Well, as somebody who's voluntarily using their free website, I still don't understand what it is I'm supposed to be so alarmed about.


I think the general idea is that most Facebook users don't know that. Or something. I don't get it either.
 
2012-05-16 12:05:45 PM
All I know is, when I get the chance, Imma gonna short Facebook's stock.
 
2012-05-16 12:08:38 PM

quickdraw: That aggregate data is used to market everything from political candidates to boner pills.


to be fair, those are pretty much the only things i see marketed in one way or another via any medium.

People know what Facebook does.

People don't know how Facebook makes money besides the generic online advertising. It gets a lot of hits, though.
 
2012-05-16 12:10:38 PM
Gets me laid, for starters.
 
2012-05-16 12:13:02 PM
FB facilitates the transfer of information. It's basically an information marketplace in which people trade information pertaining to a portfolio of friends. Most of the information is stupid and irrelevant.

It also destroys employee productivity, but might improve employee morale.
 
2012-05-16 12:17:38 PM

BunkoSquad: quickdraw: Its not the ads. Its the aggregate data which is sold to companies who may or may not advertise on FB. That aggregate data is used to market everything from political candidates to boner pills.

Well, as somebody who's voluntarily using their free website, I still don't understand what it is I'm supposed to be so alarmed about.


As long as you're making the choice, more power to you. I refuse to accept the terms of use and don't use the product for that reason. (Fark and Reddit are the only sites I turn off adblock for)
 
2012-05-16 12:20:03 PM
I believe it has something to do with something called Farmville.
 
2012-05-16 12:42:43 PM

MaxxLarge: [www.luminomagazine.com image 470x230]

Well...well, look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills. I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?


Came for this.
 
2012-05-16 01:05:27 PM

BunkoSquad: quickdraw: Its not the ads. Its the aggregate data which is sold to companies who may or may not advertise on FB. That aggregate data is used to market everything from political candidates to boner pills.

Well, as somebody who's voluntarily using their free website, I still don't understand what it is I'm supposed to be so alarmed about.


It comes down to a personal preference, some people don't like creepy marketing and some don't care.
 
2012-05-16 01:13:16 PM
Facebook hasn't gone the way of MySpace yet?
 
2012-05-16 01:23:04 PM
It allows me to troll the republicans in my family, even though I don't live in the same city as them.

Also makes me feel better about my life choices when I see how fat and broken down some of my past girlfriends have gotten.
 
2012-05-16 01:28:17 PM

bdub77: FB facilitates the transfer of information. It's basically an information marketplace in which people trade information pertaining to a portfolio of friends. Most of the information is stupid and irrelevant.

It also destroys employee productivity, but might improve employee morale.


this.

At least one VP around my work wants to have FB blocked due to "productivity" issues. Our response has been along the lines of "Not a security issue and we are not responsibility for you or your managers inability to manage their own people. Have a nice day."
 
2012-05-16 01:32:55 PM
Facebook's IPO has the potential to be the greatest hype than flop.

So many "regular" people are going to lose their shirts over this one while the big boys reap billions in the first few weeks.

A valuation of 100x it's current annual profits? When it can barely get users to pony up cash or click ads?
 
2012-05-16 01:33:39 PM

gingerjet: bdub77: FB facilitates the transfer of information. It's basically an information marketplace in which people trade information pertaining to a portfolio of friends. Most of the information is stupid and irrelevant.

It also destroys employee productivity, but might improve employee morale.

this.

At least one VP around my work wants to have FB blocked due to "productivity" issues. Our response has been along the lines of "Not a security issue and we are not responsibility for you or your managers inability to manage their own people. Have a nice day."


I think you need a few more words that end in "ity". And you prolly have itty bitty titties.
 
2012-05-16 01:33:41 PM
They sell your personal information and sell ad space. Duh.
 
2012-05-16 01:46:14 PM
Facebook allows you to find and exchange a few messages with old friends whom you haven't seen in 20 or 30 years, and then go back to your regular life. Or, if you're obsessive, it allows you to pretend you have hundreds of friends, most of whom are people who have never met you and don't spend more than a millisecond (if that) thinking about you.
 
2012-05-16 01:46:32 PM

Mr.Tangent: It comes down to a personal preference, some people don't like creepy marketing and some don't care.


It's "creepy" in the same way an automatic door is "haunted" -- it's making fantastic assumptions about technology people don't understand. Now, I'm not privvy to FB's black box, but in absence of that I can at least think like a greedy, soulless business. As it turns out, a lot of these algorithms aren't nearly as invasive as people think. Marketers (i.e., FB's real customers) want aggregate data, which is something Facebook (being a social network) can uniquely provide and is far more valuable than your personal information. Yes in a sense they're one and the same, as FB can't tell its customers how old you are without an accurate birthdate, but odds are they don't give out databases chock full of raw data. This has jack to do with FB's policies; it comes down to the best way to make money. For starters, there are already competing sites that do that and the amount of data to parse through is massive (and mostly useless). Short of a few skeevy telemarketers (who only want contact info which generally isn't publicly available on FB anyway), that's not gonna get customers knocking down Zuckerberg's door. FB has no sense of ethics, but rest assured selling private info is the worst possible way they can make money off the system they've set up. What FB can sell, at a premium, are demographic patterns -- they want your birthdate so they can sell analytics such as "old people surfing from their parents' basements talk about so-and-so products". This is of most interest to companies wanting to sell to those demographs, and also helps companies know what not to spend money on. For example, if FB can help a business determine that only 0.1% of their customers are fat old men in basements, they can cancel plans to buy TV ad airtime during My Little Pony. Your super-sacred private information? Odds are it was sold to every shameless spammer and their pet dog years ago by the credit reporting agencies. At least FB has some semblance of a privacy policy. The credit agencies have access to more of your info than FB ever does, with no obligations or incentive to give a rat's ass about your concerns. Not that one makes the other OK, but going all rageguy on FB for its privacy policies is like getting mad at someone for hitting your car with a sledgehammer after it's already been wrecked in a hit-and-run, sent to the junkyard by the body shop and compacted without your consent.

Targeted ads are also typically just keyword searches. It's not like every post needs to be stored or even cached by the advertiser, and why would one want to do that anyway? What business wants to pay money to sift through your 94,000 LOLcats?? No, if I was buying video game ads on FB I'd have them target posts that mention, say, "Diablo" over the next month or so. I wouldn't need to know who was doing it; I just like my odds better at getting brand recognition among users talking about Diablo III than, say, knitting.

To clarify a point, I'm not defending FB's policies or practices, per se. They do have a track record of lying to their user base, and their "we added this privacy setting and set it this way for you by default" BS makes me stabby. HOWEVA, I am saying that many of the things everyone knows they do doesn't need to be "invasive" or "creepy" and frankly is more cost-effective if it's done as simply as possible. A keyword scan script to target ads is cheap to set up and quite effective, if managed properly. The clients would basically just pay FB for the exposure, and why would FB turn down easy money? A database that stores personal information on every post that mentions the keyword? MASSIVE datacenter and processing costs for relatively little upside. Can FB's clients do it? Sure. Do they feel they're entitled to do it? I dunno, but that's not a stretch. Are they doing it, though? Doubtful. If you learn anything from this post at all, I want you to remember that invasive collection and processing of mass private info has cost constraints that make it far less likely than people think. FB has to store all this info just to keep their system up, but for a FB client it's a lot of unnecessary cost and completely defeats the purpose of leveraging FB's network in the first place.
 
2012-05-16 01:54:58 PM
It changes its format and controls too often, without notifying it's users properly.
 
2012-05-16 01:55:12 PM

Honest Bender: They sell your personal information and sell ad space. Duh.


and soon you'll be able to buy facebook credits. You can use these credits to buy sheep for your farmville, or other useful services such as having your witty posts show up in bold font at the top of your friends news feed.

it will be awesome
 
2012-05-16 02:07:59 PM

dragonchild: Mr.Tangent: It comes down to a personal preference, some people don't like creepy marketing and some don't care.

[wall of text]


I'm not saying FB sells information of individual users but some companies can use the agregate data combined with data from other sources to send advertising that seems really creepy.

Again it's a personal preferance.
 
2012-05-16 02:16:24 PM
No use for Facebook has ever occurred to me, so I don't use it. But I sure as hell wouldn't sign up for a free service and then snivel about the terms under which it is provided.
 
2012-05-16 02:28:06 PM

jso2897: No use for Facebook has ever occurred to me, so I don't use it. But I sure as hell wouldn't sign up for a free service and then snivel about the terms under which it is provided.


You left out this part:

"I would rather you just said "Thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!"
 
2012-05-16 03:18:32 PM
They make fark tons of money through ads and have zero debt?

I dunno, seems like a pretty straight forward operation.
 
2012-05-16 03:31:09 PM

MrBigglesworth: They make fark tons of money through ads and have zero debt?

I dunno, seems like a pretty straight forward operation.


They're valuing the company at 20x its yearly revenue. That's the very definition of hype. How long can being "hot" sustain a stock price, when it's not even remotely backed up by fundamentals? And please don't say Facebook is a new paradigm.

Said it before, and I'll say it again. I think Zuckerberg sees that winter is coming, so he's cashing out and screwing everybody one last time.
 
2012-05-16 03:52:43 PM
Did you even look at their SEC filing? Revs from 2007 to 2011 had quadrupled, the company has zero debt.......
 
2012-05-16 04:02:35 PM
Facebook is great, because you get a lifetime's worth of information on people in the span of a few months. Whether you wanted it or not.

You suspect someone is the worst controlling sticky-beak you could imagine with a need to be the center of attention to boot? Three "OMG IT'S SO ANNOYING" status updates (with customary "why are you all asking meeeeee what's wrong, stay out of thiiiiiiis lol" replies) confirms it.

Suspect that two people you work with are having a fling? There's probably something going on if they suddenly start to 'Like' the same pages, and each other's comments. Especially if some of one of their 'Like' presses just appeared in your Live Ticker for things the other person posted over a year ago.

You get to see which exes are stable relationship-wise and which ones go through relationships like Kleenex (and how they keep making the same mistakes over and over). You see which nieces and nephews are the smart ones and which are the idiots. Which work colleagues are interesting in ways you never would have guessed and which ones to avoid. Which people are interested in things you like or hate. People don't change: you just never really knew who they were, who they are, before Facebook let you into their world.
 
2012-05-16 04:08:12 PM
Um, it's doing what it does. It is a social utility.
 
2012-05-16 04:15:30 PM
so here is how it works (based on my experience)

I create content for FB

Lets say I like Invader Zim and Sara Palin.

FB can now provide data on people who like Invader Zim (and animation of their era) and their political choices.

Now you ever think Obama and Mitt Romney wonder "where should I put my ads?"

FB provides them awesome data which will help them target their ad buys.

this sort of data is Facebook's Profit line #1. We all generate data for FB every day,.

And the more aps out there, the more data they can make

Like AC/DC music? Have Spotify? Well congratualations FB can provide all sorts of info about everyone who plays AC/DC music on spotify

Think their producers might like that Data when targeting who sponsors them?
 
2012-05-16 05:05:52 PM
People still use Facebook? I don't even have an account.
 
2012-05-16 05:10:29 PM

Jackpot777: Facebook is great, because you get a lifetime's worth of information on people in the span of a few months. Whether you wanted it or not.

You suspect someone is the worst controlling sticky-beak you could imagine with a need to be the center of attention to boot? Three "OMG IT'S SO ANNOYING" status updates (with customary "why are you all asking meeeeee what's wrong, stay out of thiiiiiiis lol" replies) confirms it.

Suspect that two people you work with are having a fling? There's probably something going on if they suddenly start to 'Like' the same pages, and each other's comments. Especially if some of one of their 'Like' presses just appeared in your Live Ticker for things the other person posted over a year ago.

You get to see which exes are stable relationship-wise and which ones go through relationships like Kleenex (and how they keep making the same mistakes over and over). You see which nieces and nephews are the smart ones and which are the idiots. Which work colleagues are interesting in ways you never would have guessed and which ones to avoid. Which people are interested in things you like or hate. People don't change: you just never really knew who they were, who they are, before Facebook let you into their world.


Yup. I realized there were a lot of things I didn't like about most of my friends or things that were extremely annoying. Deactivated because it was turning me into a misanthrope.
 
2012-05-16 05:32:39 PM
Facebook making such stupid amounts of money reminds me of this Seinfeld exchange:

Jerry: So, we're going to make the post office pay for my new stereo now?
Kramer: It's a write-off for them.
Jerry: How is it a write-off?
Kramer: They just write it off.
Jerry: Write it off what?
Kramer: Jerry, all these big companies, they write off everything.
Jerry: You don't even know what a write-off is.
Kramer: Do you?
Jerry: No, I don't!
Kramer: But they do. And they're the ones writing it off.
Jerry: I wish I had the last twenty seconds of my life back.

It amazes me that advertisers consider my browsing habits worth 678 trillion brazillion dollars.
 
2012-05-16 05:47:39 PM

quickdraw: That aggregate data is used to market everything from political candidates to boner pills.


What about a political pill named Boehner?
 
2012-05-16 05:57:58 PM

Humean_Nature: BunkoSquad: Well, as somebody who's voluntarily using their free website, I still don't understand what it is I'm supposed to be so alarmed about.

I think the general idea is that most Facebook users don't know that. Or something. I don't get it either.


That's pretty much it. If you already know what's up and just don't care, no worries. Me, I don't care for having my information aggregated quite so thoroughly and automatically, so I simply don't use the service. Mind you, that doesn't prevent them from aggregating information about me anyway, but it's less information, more difficult, and less automatic.

Frankly, I haven't seen Facebook offer me anything that I want that I can't already get via other technologies with less baggage. It offers a lot of things that I don't want, and for some of those things the offer isn't optional. So, no thank you. Enjoy the IPO, and cash out while the getting's good.
 
2012-05-16 06:05:14 PM

Jackpot777: Facebook is great, because you get a lifetime's worth of information on people in the span of a few months. Whether you wanted it or not.

You suspect someone is the worst controlling sticky-beak you could imagine with a need to be the center of attention to boot? Three "OMG IT'S SO ANNOYING" status updates (with customary "why are you all asking meeeeee what's wrong, stay out of thiiiiiiis lol" replies) confirms it.

Suspect that two people you work with are having a fling? There's probably something going on if they suddenly start to 'Like' the same pages, and each other's comments. Especially if some of one of their 'Like' presses just appeared in your Live Ticker for things the other person posted over a year ago.

You get to see which exes are stable relationship-wise and which ones go through relationships like Kleenex (and how they keep making the same mistakes over and over). You see which nieces and nephews are the smart ones and which are the idiots. Which work colleagues are interesting in ways you never would have guessed and which ones to avoid. Which people are interested in things you like or hate. People don't change: you just never really knew who they were, who they are, before Facebook let you into their world.


That's just it: I don't want into their world at that level, and I certainly don't want everybody in my world at that level. Let people be people without unknown parties monitoring their every move.

Zuckerberg has already claimed that the very concept of privacy is a thing of the past. There are some grains of truth to that, given the shift to electronic communication and the increasing prevalence of electronic financial transactions, but it's not nearly as all-encompassing as Joe Tinfoil goes on about. But I refuse to go out of my way to help Zuckerberg and his kind fulfill such a mad prophecy--especially if there's nothing in it for me but advertisements.
 
2012-05-16 06:05:17 PM

keepitcherry: Jackpot777: Facebook is great, because you get a lifetime's worth of information on people in the span of a few months. Whether you wanted it or not.

You suspect someone is the worst controlling sticky-beak you could imagine with a need to be the center of attention to boot? Three "OMG IT'S SO ANNOYING" status updates (with customary "why are you all asking meeeeee what's wrong, stay out of thiiiiiiis lol" replies) confirms it.

Suspect that two people you work with are having a fling? There's probably something going on if they suddenly start to 'Like' the same pages, and each other's comments. Especially if some of one of their 'Like' presses just appeared in your Live Ticker for things the other person posted over a year ago.

You get to see which exes are stable relationship-wise and which ones go through relationships like Kleenex (and how they keep making the same mistakes over and over). You see which nieces and nephews are the smart ones and which are the idiots. Which work colleagues are interesting in ways you never would have guessed and which ones to avoid. Which people are interested in things you like or hate. People don't change: you just never really knew who they were, who they are, before Facebook let you into their world.

Yup. I realized there were a lot of things I didn't like about most of my friends or things that were extremely annoying. Deactivated because it was turning me into a misanthrope.


Someone else said this here on Fark.

"Facebook turns friends into strangers"
 
2012-05-16 06:52:38 PM

MaxxLarge: [www.luminomagazine.com image 470x230]

Well...well, look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills. I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?


And if I work my tail off posting and Facebook gets a few more bits of my personal information, I don't see a dime! Where's the incentive in that?
 
2012-05-16 07:30:43 PM
Corrals idiots.
 
2012-05-16 08:29:29 PM
Lets me troll all of the friends who bought Diablo 3 Error 37.

Honestly, for me the moments of, "oh, he/she ended up working there?" without having to wait for a reunion or something. I don't talk to 80% of the people I have friended, but it's a bit interesting to see the people you knew in back high school get doctorates, get married, start posting baby pictures, and all that other crap.

Besides, I actually like data mining. I just wish Facebook would publish some interesting things about it like OkTrends.
 
2012-05-17 12:15:33 AM

MrBigglesworth: Did you even look at their SEC filing? Revs from 2007 to 2011 had quadrupled, the company has zero debt.......


So? In my opinion it's still GROSSLY overpriced. It doesn't matter if they're making lots of money if the stock is being sold for such an absurd price. Now, you're right that they're growing revenues rapidly, but can they sustain it? When you have a free product that already has a billion users you can't exactly grow much further without significantly diversifying. Frankly, I see Facebook as a one trick pony that will continue to make lots of money from advertising, but not nearly enough to justify a price tag of something like 200x earnings. I just don't see 10+ years of 50% annual earnings growth from here without a dramatic change in their business.
 
2012-05-17 08:11:03 PM
CSB time: I have actually make a living out of being a "Social Networking Consultant" (and a DJ, but that does not pay the bills). I was the only tech savy guy at the radio station I worked at, so I set up their social networking, then I started giving presentations to groups of old people about how and why people use Facebook. I have since worked for a couple politicians and a number of local companies, setting up their page, walking them through how to buy and track ads and giving them some basic strategies for promoting their business.
 
2012-05-17 08:12:16 PM
*made
 
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