Show of hands: Who’s sick of the Sponsored Stories and other encroaching ads on Facebook
Although Facebook is free because Zuck & Co. have a massive advertising machine going, it can get a little obnoxious, and the Facebook advertising train is not slowing down. Soon, Facebook will leverage user activity to sell ads on third-party sites. Many users are annoyed and some are downright angry that Facebook appears to be implementing massive changes without bothering to consider users’ feelings on the subject.
Strategically joining the chorus of boos is Google
executives, who are painting Facebook as a money-grubbing, ad-mongering whore of Babylon, putting it in contrast to their Google+
social network, which just happens to be a Facebook competitor.
Google VP Bradley Horowitz told Wired that Google+ doesn’t have ads and decried Facebook’s “monetization agenda” that rudely interrupts people’s social interactions when they’re using the service. Google chairman Eric Schmidt
(pictured above) took a shot at Facebook as well in the Washington Post over the fact that while Google+ requires users to use their real names, Facebook is overrun with pseudonyms and fake profiles. The insinuation is that Google+ is for real people, while Facebook is just an ad network with a billion suckers using it.
Google's Horowitz (Image credit: The Next Web)
They’re right, to an extent, but Google is a very large pot calling the kettle black here. True, Google+ isn’t littered with ads, but Google’s search engine most certainly is. Further, not only is Google+ designed for businesses to promote themselves as much as it is for people to connect, Google has made no secret of the fact that it uses data culled from Google+ in its advertising business--which is in large part what so many people are riled up at Facebook for.
At the end of the day, Google is just splitting hairs about how Facebook goes about its advertising business and is being opportunistic by openly criticizing the social network at a moment where lots of other people are already peeved at it. Both companies make buckets of money from serving up ads and promoting brands and companies in various ways. Perhaps Google is right that Facebook’s implementation of it by interrupting the natural flow of social media is all wrong, but if so, it’s only wrong because it’s clumsy.
Whether you think both companies are money-grubbing advertising whores is another issue; the point is that they’re largely cut from the same cloth.