Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 4, 2011
Do you “like” many websites you visit? Are some of those sites really big ones, sites that sell stuff or give you news and the like? Maybe sites that belong to big companies that have promotions offering free or reduced stuff? And of course you have a Facebook account, you have friends following you and of course you know that “like” means you share that with the people who follow you and many people who follow them?
If so, get ready to be in some advertisements. It seems that Facebook last week quietly launched a new program where, if you “like” something and it happens to be one of Facebook’s advertisers, your image just might show up in an advertisement for that company or product, whether you asked for it or not. Actually, no one gets to ask for it so you could suddenly be a star without realizing it, helping the company make money.
And you want more? It doesn’t have to be a website for that to happen. Say you happen to like Glee and you’ve indicated that on Facebook. That automatically puts you into the Glee group, whether you participate or not. Well, if there’s an advertiser that only advertises towards that group (yes, they can do that), then your image could find its way into the stream of other people who like Glee, or any of the people who follow those folks.
You might never know until one day one of your friends contacts you and asks you how much money you made for the ad and you’ll be asking them “what ad?” That’s because, at least from what I’ve heard, an ad you’re in isn’t supposed to show up in your stream. Now wouldn’t that be a hoot. Actually, it’s happened before, about a year ago when Facebook first started testing this. A woman showed up in a dating ad, only she didn’t know about it. But her boyfriend saw it and asked her about it, and she was stunned. It turned out he had a good sense of humor, but I wondered at the time how many other people had the same type of thing happen to them.
I mention this with the expectation that you didn’t know this was coming, although if you keep up with Facebook news like I do then you’d have known it was coming. At least advertisers knew it was coming, and I had an inkling it was coming based on what they’d said last year when they were testing it. It’s one reason why I’ve never “liked” any page.
Having said that, there are some things you can “like” without having to worry about it. For instance, most blogs aren’t advertising on Facebook, so that would be okay. Certain news sources, such as CNN, might not advertise, although I’m betting they have a page on Facebook so it’s possible they target people through there. But if you like Prada shoes, Gucci bags, iPads and the like and “like” someone’s site… well, you could be the next Old Spice man; wouldn’t that be a hoot?
Someone had to tell you, right?