Robert Schonberger at thought home

Every tech person and their dog is talking about the Facebook IPO. Some in the financial world wonder about who owns what percentage of the company, what the valuation is, and so forth. Some people think of this possibly huge transfer of money another way, as someone on twitter writes:

That loud sound you just heard out of Palo Alto was in fact 28 luxury car dealers simultaneously climaxing.

What do I think? Well, I wonder what the true value in Facebook is. There’s the constant comparison with Google, since they’re both big tech companies. What’s my take? Facebook doesn’t have, right now, the same type, and quality, of data about me that Google does. Or at least, they don’t use it.

What do I mean? If I look at my Facebook profile, and what information is in there, I have a bunch of photos about weddings and parties i’ve been to, details about my friends who are skiing in a far off place, beachside paradises they’re at, and that kind of thing. Some of my friends share a link to their work that’s public, or make a pithy comment about some current affairs.

On the instant gut feel, none of this really tells you much about me. The advertising experience right now? I get ads touting great dentistry at a good price for my employer. There’s a great element of mail merge in there. Often, I see ads with a little image that has nothing to do with what they’re selling. It feels under-targeted. I feel as if, given my friends status, I should get wedding venue recommendations, baby gifts and ski poles.

Really, I should be seeing ads for espresso machines, bicycles and hiking boots. I feel as if there’s an opportunity for Facebook to get this kind of data, but I don’t know that they have it right now. That feels like it will hurt their ad revenue for a while to come.

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