This is a humorous yet realistic look at the road that Facebook is followingâ€¦too funny and yet very real!!
Faceplant: Turning Users Into Enemies
by George Simpson, Friday, Nov 9, 2007 6:00 AM ET
FACEPLANT, THE “SUPERHOT” SOCIAL NETWORK with 253 monthly users, this week launched its highly anticipated advertising program at a kabob street vendor cart on Manhattan’s creepy Lower East Side.
Faceplant will now give advertisers the ability to create their own profile pages featuring staged corporate photos, third-party applications, discussion boards, and even annoying Flash animation–and will let users identify themselves as enemies of a product. Each user’s news feed will contain items like “Bobby Smith now hates his Toyota Prius.” The new system includes a feature dubbed Bacon that lets marketers ask disgruntled Faceplant members visiting their Web sites whether they want to tell other friends on Faceplant about a purchase where they got hosed.
So, for example, friends of “Tim” might receive an update in their news feed that Tim was one of the suckers who paid six bills for an iPhone, including Tim’s photo as well as a small Apple ad with an image of an iPhone and a link to the Apple site (where they can pay less than Tim, but three or four times more than for other similar phones–or simply wait it out for a Google-powered device). The ads expand what has been one of the most powerful features of Faceplant, the news feed, where members see a list of what their friends are doing–hurling photos from their parties, new friends with ample cleavage, favorite bands who sing unprintable lyrics, and so on.
“It is no secret that most Americans hate corporations and can’t wait to trash them to their friends when they are responsible for eco-disasters, third-world slave labor or collusion with Chinese manufacturers who ignore minimum product safety guidelines or simply excess oil profits,” says Faceplant founder and CEO Mac Suckerburger. “Who hasn’t had a bad experience with a lemon product or a moronic subcontinent help-desk guy who speaks English as a third or fourth language? Today we are giving every pissed-off consumer a chance for his complaints to go viral, and prevent millions of others from making the same purchase mistake. Nothing influences a person more than the recommendation of a trusted friend.”
“This is simply brilliant,” said one agency media director who attended the invitation-only handing-down of the tablets. “Probably the single thing most youngsters hate more than corporations is their advertising, especially when it intrudes in a space they thought special and removed from commercialism. In one swell foope [sic], Faceplant gives members not only another reason to hate brands, but the means to trash them in real time to millions of others on the site.”
Marketers can also target ads on Faceplant based on more than a dozen demographic and behavioral criteria such as country, age, favorite media, education, gender, political views, movies, and relationship status.
“Jesus, I thought DoubleClick-Google was shooting fish in a barrel, but this will be about as much fun as we can have and still keep our clothes on,” says one privacy advocate who asked only to be identified as “Bin.”
The targeting parameters, once learned by even the dullest Faceplant user, will undoubtedly encourage people to pony up their profiles with highly imaginative information in order to throw off the algorithms that govern the targeting.
“Dude, Faceplant was, like, our space,” says a freshman at Harvard. “Why should we be pawns to the obsessive consumption that is, like, overtaking every aspect of our lives? Today’s consumption is undermining the environmental resource base. It is exacerbating inequalities. And the dynamics of the consumption-poverty-inequality-environment nexus are accelerating. If the trends continue without change–not redistributing from high-income to low-income consumers, not shifting from polluting to cleaner goods and production technologies, not promoting goods that empower poor producers, not shifting priority from consumption for conspicuous display to meeting basic needs–today’s problems of consumption and human development will worsen. We’re going to fire up the bong and bring the system DOWN, man. It will be power to the people, like my old man marched.”
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