As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

Facebook and MySpace release targeted advertising.

I absolutely believe that social network advertising potential has only barely been realized. These targeted advertising moves by Facebook and MySpace advance the ball.

But I am much more interested in new business models that leverage good old fashioned commerce on these sites. Buying stuff. Recommending products, and heck, even supporting causes with real currency, not just piles of pixels. Beyond the rich user data available, it is even more appealing to leverage the way real-world communications, gift-giving, and general interactions are being reinvented on social networks. Social networkers are actually among the most statistically active e-commerce participants. They are teenagers (and older people) who are indeed pulling out credit cards and cash. They just don’t yet have a way to do it in the company of their online friends.

clipped from
“People can wax philosophically about all the cool things you can do when you have all this data,” said Dennis Yu, the “analytics guru” at online advertising company SocialMedia. “But what will a teenager actually pull out a credit card for? And when? At the end of the line, someone’s got to buy something — otherwise all that targeted advertising’s useless.”
One of the ripest commercial opportunities on Facebook could be its news-feed feature. That feature notifies friends of users’ moods, changes in their relationship status or their whereabouts. Soon, these may include alerts about a book a friend has purchased on, for example, according to a person familiar with Facebook’s plans who was not authorized to talk to the press about it.

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