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Self Serve Advertising?

Yep! MySpace and Facebook have had it for nearly two years now! Marketers, companies and users can create their own ads and have MySpace and Facebook display them on relevant profiles in order to more effectively reach their target market.

Facebook self serve advertising

MySpace self serve advertising

Furthermore advertisers can analyse their results and better position themselves to their target audience with professional help from the social networking site.

Although this all began in November of 2007, it is important to note as it signalled the beginning of what was termed as ‘hyper-targeted advertising;’ using the contents of social networking profiles to directly target and market to the user.

What does this mean for privacy? Well, initially when the sites decided to take this direction there were fears that information that users wanted to remain private would be used  by third party advertisers to segment them into serviceable markets. MySpace and Facebook contend, however, that only information set by the user as public can be used by advertisers. Even then, did the user ever get a chance to consent to this? Realistically the only way to opt out of this situation was to cancel their account, defeating the purpose of using a social networking site.

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