The funny thing about Facebook is that it is similar to television: You’ve been given the impression you’re the customer, but you’re actually the product being sold to the real customers – advertisers.
Facebook just takes it another step, because you’re voluntarily giving them extensive data about who you are as an individual, as well as involuntarily (or unknowingly for most people) letting the technology create profiles of your browsing habits. If that weren’t enough, there is the further twist – at least on TV there are professional artists and actors and creative types who are producing the content you enjoy. On Facebook, the content is created by you and your friends and given away for free to the website owners.
So all they have to do is create a database infrastructure, then you and your friends come along and do almost all the Data Entry, and while you’re doing it they’re watching you and adding meta-data to their private database, then they can turn around and sell all the aggregate data to their customers. Profit!
At the peak of the show “Friends”, Jennifer Aniston was getting paid a million dollars for pretending to be Rachel whatsherface for each 30 minute episode. The million dollars ultimately came from advertisers who bought airtime from the network.
We are now self-creating global databases with billions of entries and in return are getting… the ability to “poke” someone from your 10th grade Health class. Meanwhile, how much money is Google, Facebook, BlackPlanet, etc. making from both the ads already on their sites, and the immediate/future revenue from the data we are giving them?
Quite an interesting insight and food for thought. Any comments on this comment?