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Facebook bans Adsense in all applications, driving Google out of Facebook.com (facebook.net)
356 points by ignifero on Mar 5, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 147 comments

Somehow people are surprised that Facebook (a company that makes most of its revenues from advertising and is competing for "Top internet dog" spot) and Google (a company that makes most of its revenues from advertising and is competing for "Top internet dog" spot) are not in harmonious agreement when it comes to having each other's ads on their properties.

Seems pretty predictable to me. Facebook will do whatever it needs to win the battle. My commentary here: http://swombat.com/2011/3/5/facebook-predictably-bans-adsens...

But imagine the backlash if Google announced that you'd not be able to appear in its search results if you used any advertising platform but theirs. It's completely unimaginable.

This is what I find frightening about the changing landscape of ever more tightly controlled "platforms". It used to be that the way software interacted with a platform was via APIs; now it's increasingly alignment with the platform owner's business goals as well.

When Microsoft crushed Netscape it did so by controlling the platform and making the alternative seem unnecessary, but it would have been unthinkably brutish for them to disallow another browser. But what the App Store and Facebook are doing makes Microsoft's actions look positively charitable.

I believe there is a question of at which point a platform becomes large enough that there is a legitimate concern of the public interest involved. Obviously the US and EU governments thought such was the case with Windows. I wonder if the resolution to these things will come by similar means.

Some Microsoft updates did disable Netscape and not in the nice "do you want this to be your default browser" kind of way. Not that MS was the only one; a version of Netscape disabled IE's ability to display XML of all things. http://news.cnet.com/Microsoft-advises-IE-users-to-uninstall... (However, based on the late date I think this was more done out of spite than anything else.)

There are older examples that predate the popularity of the Internet: Microsoft specifically made earlier versions of Windows rely on DOS only work with Microsoft provided DOS and not DR-DOS.

>Some Microsoft updates did disable Netscape and not in the nice "do you want this to be your default browser" kind of way.


I think 'Don't attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence' is true the case of the article. Browsers are extremely complicated things.

You're playing with fire. Monopolies that form naturally also perish naturally (and quickly). Consider Rockefeller & Standard Oil. They got 90% of the market and bought the trains so as to force their competition to pay 200% more in shipping. But by the time the government antitrust case started, Standard Oil's market share had naturally fallen to ~60%.

On the other hand, if you solve the problem with regulation, then the regulated body has a powerful tool for maintaining their monopoly: forcing their regulation onto their startup competitors. For example VOIP got saddled with regulation for local 911 calling and easy government wiretapping. Internet radio has to pay some of the worst rates possible under the agreement content producers made with radio stations -- I think this is largely due to gov involvement in radio.

> ...it would have been unthinkably brutish for them to disallow another browser.

You mean like how they printed an error message if you were running another DOS?


(They did disable the error message in the final release, though.)

Isn't a consequence of what you are suggesting that in exchange for appearing in the Google search index, websites would be legally forced to accept Google Ads at Google's discretion?

>..."the changing landscape of ever more tightly controlled "platforms". It used to be that the way software interacted with a platform was via APIs; now it's increasingly alignment with the platform owner's business goals..."

What I love and find scary about this whole thing is that i feel like I am watching Neuromancer come to life - the online landscape of the internet - which used to seem like a massive coop of all these companies for the greater good of information freedom is now replaced by massive walled gardens, protected not so much by lethal ICE apps, but by corporate dogma, policy and ruthless greed.

Sure, its not quite a dangerous network in which your wetwire cant be used to kill you -- but we aren't yet in 2020.

I am in wonder and shock that the Cyberpunk fantasies of my childhood are the reality of my adulthood. My children will be the characters I used to role play when I was slightly older than they are now.

If Facebook is "a company that makes most of its revenues from advertising", and Google is stealing their revenue according to them, they need to work on their Ad Platform. As a small startup, we did some ads on Facebook with 500,000 displays but only 13 or so clicks (but then again, the ads were cheap to run). Nobody cares about Facebook ads and no one clicks on them, I know I very rarely do.

Exactly; I click on Adsense ads often and I bought stuff I wanted via those ads. They are often good for my purpose. I made quite a bit of money with Adsense as well. Facebook ads are quite the opposite; I have seriously never clicked on one, because, even though I spend time on Facebook, I never saw even one that looked remotely interesting to me. I hear the same thing from all my friends and read this on most forums/sites I frequent. They have power in numbers, but besides that a lot needs to happen.

Well isn't it basically because when you are on Google you often have the intent to buy something say plan a trip, rent a car or find a restaurant or whatever.

On facebook you are checking out your friends and the adds are not immediately relevant to the reason why you are on facebook. makes a huge difference.

Facebook needs to build a search engine and the social graph should be a subset of the results like Google categorizes images, videos, maps etc on the top/left.

Once fb builds buys a real search engine (blekko) the game could change very very suddenly

Nope. I'm often on gmail and am looking at an email from a (non-technical) friend of mine, when a little text ad for a nice little 1U opteron machine shows up top. I click, because I'm interested.

Yeah... such curiosity clicking costs advertisers. Conversions on the fb platform are abysmal.

This is just evidence of the failure of the Facebook ad platform. With the sheer abundance of data that Facebook commands, this should not be the case.

I donno. I was looking for opteron serversm (still am, actually). I don't think there's anywhere that facebook would actually know that. I'd ignore any intel boxes, so they'd have to be pretty accurate to get something that I'd click on.

If I was facebook, I'd focus on social activities that I'd be interested in while interacting with my friends. Ski trips, wii games, etc.

I think FB adds will get to revolve around "performance based advertising" (targeting users) on a global scale. Google will then find its way 'in' via it's Invite Media. Facebook will help provide the Data, as will Google et al ...Data is the 'key', I feel...


I'm sure that's true and they're no doubt aware of it.

But just because your revenue model needs work doesn't mean you should leave the door wide open to your largest competitor to steal your customers who are building apps on your very own platform!

Facebook's move makes perfect sense. I'm surprised they didn't do it sooner.

Maybe they should start making their own adsense then. Allow publishers to put ad units on their own websites out in the wild.

The ads would be of various standard banner sizes

Placed via iFrame so they were contextually relevant to the page you were on, but also socially tied back to the person doing the viewing - cookie tracking the user.

Self management system through facebook gets an option for placement on the "extended network"

I bet facebook clickrates would go WAY up because the ads would be everywhere.

What's even better is people who get "BANNED FROM ADSENSE" would have a real viable alternative.

It's not a small task - but - seems the way to go. Facebook Adsense

I think this is what they're planning. I note that they have made very slow progress on their on-site platform bits (and actually hurt them in many ways by reducing virality) but are constantly improving their off-site stuff, like Like stream stories, the share widgets, and the FB Comments widget. This makes me think their medium to long term strategy is to convert the entire web into a sellable FB ad unit, rather then get everyone to spend their time on FB directly. I know the logic is a bit strange here but I can't find any other reasoning for their actions.

Could this be what Facebook is planning? They have all the like info from users and plenty of more data beyond that, plus tons of business and developer contacts for leads.

A small correction. These are Google's customers. Facebook is the one trying to steal them away.

Do you mean, because they have no ability to compete, they should have made a move to eradicate superior platforms before it became obvious that their ad product is a waste of money?

We did some market research using Facebook ads and we were super satisfied. In this particular case, we were interested in a specific customer segment (what they like, location, status, etc.) and Facebook ads did a great job. Google ads and other services were useless.

If other words, it is mistake to equate Google AdWords with Facebook Ads platform. They should be used differently.

If you ran ads with 500,000 displays and only 13 or so clicks, you did something horribly wrong. Facebook ads have a value because they can be ultra targeted. There are many ways ways you could have made a mistake, for instance, demographics that were too unspecific, bad images, not enough variations (i use 10+ sometimes), bad copy, etc.

I like to look at the comparison of google ads vs facebook ads as such: If you want to provide a service/product to people who are seeking that solution, use Google ads. And if you want to go to the targeted demographic directly and present your solution/product/message, use Facebook.

An example would be if you sold wedding services in miami. You could go on facebook and target women 25-35 who are engaged and live in miami. The ads would display only for the targeted demographic and would likely have a good click-through rate. Or you could go into google adwords and buy terms related to wedding services miami or zipcode+wedding service. The differences here are that a woman in the younger demographic is much more likely to be spending hours on facebook and only minutes on a google search.

In addition, google also has incredibly high competition for some of the more lucrative keywords and it is getting increasingly more competitive in local search, now requiring a top 7 ranking to really matter in the local listings.

Also, never underestimate the cpm (cost per thousand) displays of facebook ads to the targeted demographic. They work great for events like concerts and other events when simple awareness is key. A good image also helps a lot, as I run ads with the same text and different images and see dramatic differences in the number of clicks.

It's difficult for me to believe that "nobody cares about Facebook ads and no one clicks on them" because Facebook Ads (and Google Adwords/Adsense) operate as markets, with a bidding system on price. I almost don't want to post this because the more people who know about and use facebook ads, the higher the price rises. Their prices have been steadily rising over the last year as more and more business try them out. They do work, but not for every product and not for every demographic. But people wonder how facebook can have such a high valuation, because they underestimate the amount of direct access and data Facebook has to over 500 million people.

The ads do work, but to create a good campaign requires knowledge of the platform, and experience in marketing, advertising, and copywriting. Laypeople assume they don't need marketers and can do buys themselves, and more cheaply, but usually end up spending more. The true gold in online advertising though, comes from what happens after the person clicks.

I don't disagree that Facebook ads might work for certain product ("Check your IQ online!") but for a lot of product, they are never going to match up to search-linked advertising. Facebook can target ad by demographic (you're a teenager, you like skateboarding) whereas Google can target an active buying moment (you're searching for a new helmet.) The former is more similar to the old paradigm of television advertising at target demos than the new world of targeting actual purchasing behavior as it happens.


You could go on facebook and target women 25-35 who are engaged and live in miami. If Facebook's booster can't find a different glittering hypothetical, they are going to be in trouble... What about "barbers in St. Louis"? Uh wait, barbers in St. Louis actually need almost exactly what barbers in Houston need. The virtue of online business isn't "targeting" but finding something lots of people need.

Engaged? I think I remember friends talking what it's like having your Facebook profile say "engaged". Boy, that's one status that every retailer thinks they can exploit.

It's difficult for me to believe that "nobody cares about Facebook ads and no one clicks on them" because Facebook Ads (and Google Adwords/Adsense) operate as markets, with a bidding system on price.

If your reasoning was correct, nothing sold at an auction would ever be a bad deal.

But given that Facebook is seen as the next platform, every minute one has to presume that a new-customer appears to try and take advantage of this great platform. But frequency of these customers appearing doesn't prove that they are getting a deal that works for them.

Cleaning services in st louise don't want to target barbers in Houston. Not everyone is selling a web app.

Agreed about "engaged" status though

Yes, but a cleaning service in St Louis can't afford to only target barbers.

My point is that the number of business that actually engage in very-narrow-targeting are small. And the target groups tend be overwhelmed by this token. What percentage of the population makes major purchases very specific to their demographic? Is it not high (weddings, college, funerals? Anniversaries? You start to run out after a short time). The rich can also be target and are targeted and you are again back in the "not-a-slam-dunk" range.

A San Francisco dominatrix still buys a car and a washing machine in the same fashion as a mid-western minister.

If you look at the idea behind Facebook advertising, you'll see it's actually the old model of brand advertising - somehow injecting an irrational connection between the customer and the product. It's just that brand advertising rightly imagine they can get more traction if they know the exact demographic someone is one. They might indeed do so but it's still in the same realm. The goal is to sway someone's purchase decision when that someone is at a store and has to decide ten different otherwise identical whats-its. The smallest prejudice you can insert will be worth a lot to you here.

But the Google model is the opposite - informational advertising. The model of offering an honest argument for a product that the person is actively seeking.

A Facebook ad is essentially about hijacking attention. Hoping you'll get some free-floating interest from someone who isn't otherwise thinking about your offer.

A web page gets you the chance to make your case to those who are interested in your case. What objectively makes your service better.

Does a cleaning service want barbers? It wants customer in the million-person city of St. Louis but that's a big group. It mostly wants anyone who actually needs a cleaning service. And then there are a lot of things to say but this basic is pretty simple.

> The differences here are that a woman in the younger demographic is much more likely to be spending hours on facebook and only minutes on a google search.

Yes, but here is the key. It's all about attitude when presented with the ad. Those few minutes on Google are being spent actively seeking information about that particular topic. The hours on Facebook are about find out what friends are up to, with little thought about finding information.

Case in point: the only ad I have ever clicked on purpose was on Facebook. highly targeted: It was for a class on buying a house later that week in the town I live in (I was just starting to look into buying a house).

I've been exceptionally pleased with Facebook advertising -- I find it has had far higher conversions than Google advertising has.

So as with most things, your blanket statement doesn't ring true to others; and ymmv.

for what type of product/service?

I'm always curious where these mysterious "ads" are in Facebook. I have yet to see a single one in my profile (and yes even with adblock turned off). Do people really find their profiles plastered with advertising?

They occasionally show up in one of the columns on the homepage, next to the news feed. They're quite small, and very easily ignorable. Facebook even lets you close them, and after you do so enough times it seems to stop showing them to you.

Based on your comment, you might like this article:


There - Don't say I've never curated content for you :)

I feel that Many changes have 'evolved' with the need to now 'protect' both consumers and (own) Data becoming a main issue or, concern for publishers. In particular,those of the big media Co's, like Microsoft, Google & Yahoo, not to mention the concerns of a Facebook.


Time will tell, of course.

That's not surprising. What is surprising is the general hostility that Facebook has for its developers. It's like they don't want people making Facebook apps. (Perhaps they don't).

Honest question: What is the battle? Facebook is well within it's right not to sell space on it's website. But what sort of battle do you see Google and Facebook engaged in? Sure, they both want users to spend time on their websites (which translates into more ads served), but they go about this by offering different services.

The game is on! Please place your bets!

So now we see who is the real powerhouse and if the Facebook is the Google killer hype lives up to its expectations.

I place my bet on Google, I also see in my crystal ball that Zuckenberg is going to do something so stupid and greedy that he will shadow Rupert Murdoch. And I also divine that this will happen in next 5 years. By 2016 you will see headlines: Facebook is dead, Larry Page reads obituary. Stock options worthless.

> I place my bet on Google, I also see in my crystal ball that Zuckenberg is going to do something so stupid and greedy that he will shadow Rupert Murdoch.

While I don't think fb will die soon, of the two companies I'd say Google has the far higher staying power (and is more ethical)

Google has the far higher staying power

Make no mistake, Google is scared stupid. They know their core business is in the crosshairs of both Facebook and Apple. They won't go down without a fight, but that Google is reaching out in every possible direction clearly shows that they know they need to move fast to avoid the situation Microsoft is now in (irrelevancy).

apple has search and mass market ads in their crosshairs...?

Apple definitely wants a piece of the mobile advertising market otherwise they wouldn't have created the iAd network. And I speculate Apple will drop Google from the Safari search box at some point and replace it with a custom location & context aware "mobile search" engine.

Hardly. Google can lose this battle without dying. Facebook can't.

Two determined opponents are about to do battle... both are composed of very smart and motivated people. One side gets slaughtered if they lose, the other side just has to walk back home and continue to enjoy their current lifestyle. Are you sure you're betting on the right side?

That's the old argument: Rabbits are faster than foxes because rabbits are running for their lives, while foxes are only running for their dinner. For the sake of an interesting discussion, I would like to point out a flaw in applying this logic to FB vs. Google.

The dinner/life argument is true when we observe creatures that have co-evolved over a long period of time to reach an equilibrium of sorts in an ecological niche. Foxes catch some rabbits, but not enough to wipe them out, and not so few that foxes starve.

However, along the way there may have been other predators that starved to death because they couldn't catch any rabbits. And other prey animals that couldn't run fast enough and were wiped out. If we travel to a new ecological niche like a volcanic island that has risen from the sea, and there we observe one fox chasing a rabbit, it isn't a safe bet that the rabbit will escape the fox. We don't have evidence that foxes and rabbits are in equilibrium on that island, with both species able to eat enough and live long enough to reliably produce offspring.

Looking at Facebook and Google, we are not talking about the business equivalent of evolutionary time, and we are not talking about whole classes of businesses. Even though Facebook is running for its life, Google can easily wipe them out, just as on our volcanic island, one fox might easily eat one or for that matter all rabbits.

Footnote for the curious: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Ilha_da_Queim...

Facebook is more like a wolverine than a docile rabbit. Google is a bear; much bigger and should be more capable, but the wolverine is 10x more violent and will easily back it down in a fight over the salmon. The wolverine is quick, fearless and single-minded ( "eat!" ) while the bear is large, slow, probably well fed, and therefore isn't nearly as tenacious. With that analogy, who you should bet on is clear.

That's a poor analogy - in rabbits versus foxes, I would place my bet on the rabbits. Historically rabbits have been real pests for places where uncontrolled growth occurred, as foxes don't hunt rabbits when having lower hanging fruits in the area :-)

You don't think there's room for two entirely different kinds of businesses on the internet?

Amazon must be shaking in their boots because of all these hot up and coming flash gaming sites.

No, they're just collecting rent from them on ec2.

> Zuckenberg (sic) is going to do something so stupid and greedy that he will shadow Rupert Murdoch.... By 2016 you will see headlines: Facebook is dead

To my knowledge, Rupert Murdoch is still obscenely rich and widely considered to be enormously successful.

Facebook has to stay cool, which is very difficult. It also doesn't have a clear way to dominate Google's bread-and-butter business, organic search and paid search advertising. They are no doubt very innovative but I give Google the edge, especially if Google can figure out social.

I'm placing my money on company X, you know, that company that's barely a twinkle in anybody's eye but will grow up to dominate the web 3.0 landscape.

In 5 years, I'll bet you'll see Facebook and Google teaming up against X, how crazy a prediction is that?

You should place your bet on http://www.longbets.org/

I'm someone who thinks that Facebook still has massive scale and hype on its side, but will struggle to deliver on the potential it has. But, I don't agree with the 'X is dead' contention - the media and start-up community seems to have embraced it wholeheartedly.

It is perfectly possible to have a world in which both Google and Facebook exists and exist as giants.

It is perfectly possible to have a world in which Facebook loses a lot of its current sheen, but still rakes in a handsome profit. Google will continue to be brilliantly profitable, but the blowout quarters will be harder to come by.

Most market segments are large enough to support, 1,2 or 3 profitable leaders. Even in a segment as niche as commercial aircrafts, you have multiple players. The entire contention of one killer market leader is the greatest eyewash of our times.

I place my bet on Google as well.

One a sidenote, I think it's ludicrous to even suggest Facebook is a Google killer. It's a social network. That's all it is. Unless you have people that you interact with on it, it's pretty useless. My 2 cents.

Facebook is going to destroy Google. Google is fighting too many battles; Facebook with the left hand, Apple with the right, Microsoft with its left leg.

Facebook only has one enemy, besides the Federal Government.

It's left hand probably has more employees than facebook.

What makes you think more employees has anything to do with the point I'm making? Microsoft has ~3 times as many employees as Google. That doesn't mean they can wipe Google out.

It also makes it unlikely that Google can wipe them out. They have a war chest and can come up with failing product after failing product for centuries and still not be in trouble. And every once in a while, if you throw shit at the wall, it sticks.

(See: XBox.)

So, who has any experience with one of the allowed Ad Providers[1]? I visited a couple of sites from that list, but most of them don't offer _any_ information of what their rates are, how you get paid (per impression vs. per click) or what their ads look like (I don't want overly distracting, blinking ad banners). That is, without signing up first.

Finding a good ad provider seems to be exceedingly difficult :/

[1] http://developers.facebook.com/adproviders/

Interesting to me that none of the premier CPA networks made the list.

It's completely true that most of these networks run offers that are the 2nd tier "enlargement" and "weight loss" fare -- that sort of thing is probably 75% of their available offers and 99% of their revenue. But a good pub on a top CPA network can make a lot more money than a good pub using Adsense.

I'm interested in looking at some CPA networks for an upcoming project. Would you mind listing who you consider the top CPA networks?

Adzoogle, Neverblue - but they'll deny your application if you don't have serious publishing experience. I'm making an assumption that if you don't even know their names you're not going to have enough experience to get approved.

Your best bet for finding someone who is big enough to have offers, but not so that they turn people down. Try Commission Junction for a proper 'place CPA banner Ad' type setup.

They'll (probably) have you.

Once you're reliably making a few hundred to a few thousand a month, then you'll be able to waltz in to Adzoogle and any other affiliate network you want. As it turns out though, a lot of the smaller 'niche markets' are as good or better than the big guys.

Maybe sign up for offervault to get the names networks you want to apply to based on the offers that they carry.

Can you recommend any particular 'niches'? e-cigarettes?

I can't recommend niches for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I strongly believe that all of the niches you can find make money. Seriously, you see the same ones on every affiliate site and if they didn't work, they wouldn't keep putting them up there.

If you believe in e-cigarettes, if you believe that through whatever channels you try for you can reach smokers who would like to try e-cigarettes, and you believe you can get enough 'buyers' to make your spend profitable (eg: $20 on ads and $30 in sales) ... then e-cigarettes are the niche for you.

Well, within reason - you've then got to turn your faith into facts via testing.

Second, because I'm only in the very early stages of my affiliate marketing 'career' - I have a lot of background experience from working around brilliant world-class affiliate marketers, but the devil is in the details. I'm not yet confident that I know the niches to move into if I gave you advice I could be steering you down the wrong path (every niche makes money, just got to figure out how).

Your best bet to have real experts teaching you the answers on where & how to get started is probably something like warrior forums.

Also, check out Mike Colella on mixergy http://mixergy.com/mike-colella-adbeat-interview

I've been happy with AdKnowledge's Cubics platform. I tried one other provider though, who came recommended and saw pretty dismal performance. So I think results may vary...

They are crap. I benchmarked RockYou and Lifestreet Media on my Facebook app against Adsense. AdSense earned 10x the "approved" ad providers

Rockyou ads seems to be the least awful option, but their cpms are less than half as good as adsense

I wonder what would happen if google dropped facebook from their search results in retaliation. At least for tech-savvy users it won't pose a problem, but for the rest it will cause major problems (e.g. the RWW article). Will it be legal though?

Google can't do that. They'd get sued under anti-trust laws for serious money.

Edit: Seriously. Tweaking your search algorithms to the detriment of some providers and to the benefit of others is one thing (that Google does now, and which they won't be sued for). Deliberately removing a direct competitor with as high a profile (and deep pockets) as Facebook is a different kettle of fish.

Google owns 84% of the search market globally (http://marketshare.hitslink.com/search-engine-market-share.a...). That is considered a monopoly as far as Anti-Trust laws are concerned.

A company the size of Google isn't afraid of a lawsuit, nor has it been established that the search market is something those laws apply to; Google has plenty of room to do whatever they want with their search results including banning Facebook. They can say the same thing Facebook did, they're our competitors and they're stealing our customers.

I'd argue that Google would be terribly afraid of a lawsuit that might establish that the search market is something those laws apply to.

The reason they won't is that so far Google hasn't overtly manipulated results(not in a highly publicized way atleast) and that's why there is a lot of trust on them. Once it's proved that they're doing this, it's legitimacy will go down big time. Bing can trumpet that Google doesn't show any results for THE social networking site etc.

> Deliberately removing a direct competitor with as high a profile (and deep pockets) as [...] is a different kettle of fish.

I realize Google couldn't ban Facebook, and that they'd be sued for that, but I do find it funny that the opposite is completely okay. Is Facebook not trying to become a monopoly ad provider on its own site?

Are you suggesting that we shouldn't have the right to decide what ads get shown on our own websites?

Are you suggesting that we shouldn't have the right to decide what links get shown on our own websites?

Not at all. If google wants to they should go ahead and delist Facebook.

Apples and oranges.

Google is a search site and purports to have close to every publicly available(i.e not banned in robots.txt) page indexed. Delisting a very popular site(will be doing that for the first time) will get it into the news for the wrong reasons. And how much will it hurt Facebook? Barely. How many people signup for Facebook that searched "Best social networking site" ? It will actually hurt them monetarily so it will be hard to sell to stockholders. I see almost zero chance of this happening.

On the other hand, Facebook's value is not in showing ads, it's about social networking. How will removing Google ads hurt it? Will it kill off enough FB applications for people to take notice and leave FB for... what? Orkut? Google Go? Myspace?

After all, the FB applications use Facebook's resources, so they want to indirectly charge them for it while making money.

Indexed is not the same thing as available, or else Google would not be able to tweak their algorithm against so-called spam networks like Demand Media.

Historically, Yahoo trumped itself as having the best search results thanks to human curation of its search directory. Bing, even today, labels itself as a "decision engine".

Google as far as I know has no public statements implying that there's a 1:1 correspondence between the set of possible Google results for all queries and the internet. This relationship is far more important than merely a 1:1 between index and internet.

Seriously. Tweaking your search algorithms to the detriment of some providers and to the benefit of others is one thing (that Google does now, and which they won't be sued for). Deliberately removing a direct competitor with as high a profile (and deep pockets) as Facebook is a different kettle of fish.

Ok, I can understand that. So, what if all results from *.facebook.com were moved after the first few pages of google's results for the relevant search terms?

Would that be enough for an antitrust lawsuit?

As for the target group of users we are discussing, it would have virtually the same results.

Removing Facebook from searches for Facebook or people's names wouldn't just invite investigation, it would damage Google's credibility as a search engine. Penalising the Facebook content farm consisting of Wikipedia articles plus lists of fans would probably be a net positive though.

In the post you replied to I said that google could manipulate the search results to change facebook's pagerank, not dropping them entirely. Just so that results from the domain appear on the second or third page.

What if they put buzz(or orkut) as the first 'sponsored' result?

Even if it is legal, Google won't do it. Their power comes from having a search engine and index that reaches across the internet. They simply won't drop Facebook from it unless they have an completely legitimate reason (I believe BMW or one of the other high-end car brands were temporarily banned for shady SEO tactics).

Similarly in the mobile space, even though Google is in head-on competition with Apple, they still develop iphone-optimized versions of their apps. That's just good business.

Just the same way Microsoft won't make Google/Apple products not work on Windows.

Apple makes/made softwares/oses to run exclusively on Apple Hardware only.


Facebook will then sing it big together with Bing, which might work towards Bing's advantage. I can see in a future Bing and Facebook eating more and more into Google's advertising dollar. Which can only be good as in competition is good.

The funny thing is that Microsoft's adCenter isn't on the list of approved providers, which is a little surprising given that Microsoft and Facebook already seem to have a decent relationship.

Facebook doesn't want to be a Microsoft partner, they want to be AOL, circa 1994. (ie, a walled garden)

The problem is that tech-savvy user will consider that evil and will be annoyed. They need the goodwill of the community to be able to hire very good programmers.

When it comes to evilness Google has been posing as the good guy for a long time, while collecting a lot of personal information from their users in the background.

Facebook, on the other hand, is based on the users voluntarily and involuntarily (through friends etc) providing their information and isn't so discreet about it's attempts to leverage this data to profit.

This is known even by non savvy users (personally, I've met a lot of non technical people that were worried about Facebook's collection of data with regards to personal rights/privacy, but haven't once heard about Google's tactics) and has bitten them before, e.g. Beacon.

So I feel that Google won't be stigmatized by such a move, considering it's against an opponent perceived by the public as more evil.

I see an arbitrage opportunity! Create ad company, get into facebook list, backfill with Google ads.

All Google have to do is agree to these terms:


Should be a piece of cake. :)

i'm amazed anyone agreed to those terms. i'd be worried that they were so pathetic a company that they couldn't gain business any other way - not exactly confidence-inspiring.

quote: "... upon request, the Advertising Provider agrees to provide Facebook the names of and contact information for any employees and/or contractors "

may not be so easy

> "... upon request, the Advertising Provider agrees to provide Facebook the names of and contact information for any employees and/or contractors "

I didn't see anything prohibiting Facebook from selling that information to headhunters, er, recruiting firms.

Facebook and Google just need to talk. Might be a holler over the fence, but their rift is spreading far and wide. Yes, they are both growing powers on the internet, but for the sake of users and developers alike they need to settle some of their differences. I wouldn't be surprised if this 'contract' move was partly inspired to be able to block Adsense. If so, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book: forcing everyone to agree to something Google can't. Or it was the legal department going overboard.

I don't think it would be good for developers for Google and Facebook to settle their differences. The last thing we need is the internet in the hands of a giant cartel.

I hope so :)

I have the suspicion that FaceBook already has the names and contact information for the vast majority of Google employees and/or contractors.

I'm pretty sure the parent was being sarcastic. :)

I know i might get downvoted. But, how is this different from places that show a sign saying "no outside drinks or food"? It's not like fb has a monopoly advantage in anything. On the other hand, google has a near monopoly in online ads. This might be a good thing for smaller ads companies.

Eh, the sign isn't "no outside drinks or food" -- it's basically "all outside drinks and food welcomed, except Coke. We friggin hate Coke."

And would you really be surprised to see a sign like that in Pepsi's cafeteria?

I think this is pretty bad form on both sides.

On Facebook's part, they shouldn't be using a "certification process" to try and exclude competitors from making money from their app ecosystem. From what I can tell, the developers trying to make a living creating apps and even the Facebook platform itself can ill afford this sort of disruption right now. This sort of action will hurt the developers who invested in your platform the most.

On the Google side, they should be thinking about how to structure some sort of revshare agreement to help app developers get back to using Adsense and getting on the list of networks blessed for Connect sites.

Concerning arbitrary and unexplained actions, participating in Adsense alone will get you subject to more than a few of them. Consider what will happen to you as a publisher if you share your eCPM or a screenshot of your Adsense account.

And the same thing with advertisers when they have their creatives pulled for no apparent reason.

In other words, both sides use bully tactics when it suits them, and in this case, a peace treaty would probably be more mutually profitable than a prolonged slugfest.

But it's not like corporate egos haven't fueled destructive behavior before...

With the google app store coming into effect with html5 games(and apps), those game creators on fb maybe lured or tempted into trying their games in a new segment. I for one use facebook less and less. Purely as a place to go when I want to communicate with a friend who likes fbmail over email.

Warning: rant ahead (pet topic)

When HTML came out, it was purely academic. People said sure, it's cool, but how could you ever make money from just text with pictures and little links?

Now we have the answer: you create content -- text, video, pictures, games, etc -- that actively interacts with the user. Then, if you're smart, you make it so they have to "visit" your site to see this content, and, once there, they can only see whatever you choose. It's called a walled garden. All is beauty and loveliness. As long as you stay within the walls and don't piss off the gardener.

But this idea of "visiting" a site is only there because people type some text into a navigation bar and the browser loads material from a certain server. There's no reason or law that says I have to type in an address -- or that once I type in an address I am limited to seeing things from one server only. There's not even a reason I should see the information in some certain format or another. Why not type in "weather" and see various weather forecasts put out by various sources? After all, I want weather, not Joe's weather or Amit's weather. With all due respect to Joe and Amit, weather is weather.

Google is already doing this, of course, but only as a gateway. And they've got their own walled garden they're working on. Play by the rules and you'll appear on Google -- exactly where we want and alongside ads we feel are relevant to your page (and ads we make money from)

But what if you took the "location" idea completely away from HTML? Then you wouldn't be "visiting" anybody's site, and there wouldn't be any gardens to build. What if you simply interacted semantically with your computer and it gathered information from various sources and condensed it into plain text for you to consume? Gone would be "site stickiness", "addictive gaming", and "landing pages" and all sorts of other nonsense that's grown up around the idea of internet locations.

You could still consume multimedia and interactive material, of course, but only under terms you set, not terms the various site owners set. Perhaps you would want no ads, or no hyperlinks, or a time limit each day that would be acceptable for you to play games.

This puts the user back in control of their internet activities, the way it should be. It destroys many business models, but the internet is data-based, and it must evolve. I do not want the same internet in 2050 as we have now. It also gets back to the true meaning of HTML -- separating the data from the presentation. The designers of HTML realized that the purpose was structuring the data so that it relevantly linked, not creating a walled amusement park in the form of Facebook.

The curating and presentation of data is inherently a personal matter and best not left to others. We either fix this problem or it will continue to get worse, as recent events keep showing.

I read over this twice and couldn't understand what is being said. Can someone explain what is being said here?

What is being said is something on the lines of there being no URL so to speak. So when you type facebook.com what is it the reason that got you to type that? Most probably being able to see "pics from the party last night".

Now imagine if the pics were distributed on Facebook, Flickr and Picasa along with a few tweets that I had made and pics added via TwitPic. Do you still think Facebook.com is what you should type?

Now think of a setup where the thing to be typed is "username: pics of the part last night /twitter facebook flickr picasa"

Gone is the idea of any advertisement and revenue model based on the content's location/web page.

Hm? Those pics (and their backup) would consume disk space and bandwidth. Obviously the huge majority of ppl prefers to see some ads instead of paying the cloud expenses.

Facebook screws over developers because they can. Expect more of it. From lots of other vendors.

The reason they screw developers and consumers over is because of the way we access the internet, using a browser, an URL, and a single-site "visit" metaphor. We are programmers, though. We are free to redefine how we access the internet any time we like. We have created our own prison.

We can do better than this.

I agree with you that this doesn't seem to be leading us towards a great utopia.

The problem isn't just programmers creating their own prison though - it's about business models. How do we create this seamless brand-free info sphere and still get paid?

I agree it is a tough question.

But it is a different question than "how did we get here?" which is the question I answered.

If we don't know how we got here, or what the nature of the problem is, how can we ever expect to solve it?

History is a slippery beast. We only understand the past in terms of what we know in the present. To change the future, we have to build it now. If we spend our time trying understand the past before we act, time will have moved on without us.

I don't understand. How can a company that doesn't intermediate the web browsing experience screw developers over if they are free to add a new site to the Web at will? You don't need a relationship with Facebook to run a web site.

We can and we are creating a new open platform built entirely on open technologies so it can never become yet another walled garden.


Be your own Google.

We're still a good distance from having the kind of intelligent agents that would be needed to implement your vision (which isn't strictly your vision, I remember reading about this sort of stuff over a decade ago in science fiction books!).

Certainly this would be an interesting world to live in, but so far the only entity which has enough processing power to figure out what you want and act as your intelligent agent is, in fact, Google. Even with Moore's law it might take a while before everyone can have a googleplex in their iPad.

I think you're trying to solve the generic problem -- how can I speak and have things magically delivered to me?

That, of course, is a long, long way from here. But I don't think we need to boil the ocean. Fact is, you could make 10 or 20 categories of things folks do on the internet and cover a huge chunk of activity. As one commenter pointed out, lots of folks want pictures of folks from the party last night, not "facebook". There's no reason you couldn't have a handheld device (or program) that you pushed a button and it showed you recent pictures from your friends -- no matter where they posted them online.

If you wanted to get ambitious, you might could come up with 100 use-cases that would cover an enormous amount of online activity: checking my account balances, hearing from friends, sharing pictures or videos, providing feedback on what I thought after consuming some kind of material, etc. I'd be willing to be such a list would be so complete that's it's not important about the remaining items. You'd simply use a browser and an URL for those.

I bet you could create a device with 20 or so buttons that would cover so much common activity on the net as to make the device useful as a stand-alone appliance.

The beauty of this, of course, is that since people's behavior is more or less unchanged (people have been sharing pictures with each other ever since there was photography) the same buttons could be easily learned and would work no matter what the underlying technology or transport mechanism was.

And people have been building this sort of stuff... as online services.

Why would you build it as anything else than an online service (as the person building it)?

There are two reasons that come to mind immediately.

First, legally you can't use one online service to aggregate from other services -- every walled garden has clear TOS that prevent this. You can, however do the gathering and processing locally. After all, you own your own computer equipment and are solely responsible for how data is collected and presented there.

Secondly, and more importantly because of the history, you're trying to solve the problem using the constraints and assumptions that created the problem to begin with. You can't fix seven walled gardens -- by creating yet another walled garden.

Stand-alone targeted web apps are great for finding needs and servicing markets, but the nature of the net is monopolistic. That's why many of these stand-alones end up getting flipped. We need to break the technical backbone that keeps creating monopolies if we really want to get rid of them.

General Magic and Telescript went down that direction. I wonder who owns their IP / Patents?

> This puts the user back in control of their internet activities, the way it should be.

Why should the user be in solely in control of how a content producer's material is consumed? The vision you reference scares me a bit: We've already got a "race to the bottom" among manual laborers in the world, now we're looking to dedifferentiate and disempower our content producers as well? If I put effort into writing a movie review, I think it's reasonable to expect some control over how it is consumed (e.g., people look at ads that benefit me, pay me, or maybe just come look at my website with a pretty picture of my face to make me feel special).

Don't get me wrong: I like having some freedom in how I use content. I like having my music unencumbered by DRM to use on any current or future device I might buy. I like using Google Reader to keep my finger on the pulses of all of my hobbies. But I also sympathize with publishers about the Kindle DRM (and laud Amazon's attempts to make my Kindle content available on lots of platforms and devices) and with websites that just put a quick blurb or title in their RSS feed to force me to come to their site if I am interested.

Sadly, I haven't yet heard a proposal for how content should work in the future that strikes the right balance. We seem to have publishers pushing toward extreme inflexibility and "freedom" advocates pushing towards (what you describe) a situation that diminishes any benefits (financial or otherwise) of content production. I hope we can find a way to empower content producers while providing users with flexible (though, probably not entirely unencumbered or "free") ways of consuming content. The status quo, even with its annoying ads and restrictions, seems better to me than either of the extremes.

> You could still consume multimedia and interactive material, of course, but only under terms you set, not terms the various site owners set. Perhaps you would want no ads, or no hyperlinks, or a time limit each day that would be acceptable for you to play games.

What incentive do people have to create content with such a system? Altruism is fine, but content creators need to pay rent.

I worked on something a little while ago that was similar - allowing people to mash arbitrary content together - but abandoned it because of the hassle of trying to prevent it being used for leeching.

This will not end well.

Google also recently removed Facebook contacts from Android with the Gingerbread 2.3.3 update. Facebook had an exemption up to that point where they played by different rules with regards to how/where contacts are stored when syncing contacts using the Facebook app. It will be interesting to see how this back and forth goes.

It's simple all the money passes through Google; they don't have any control. Now they want to see or even collect some of that money; they want control.

Result, an army of angry developers, Google loses a lot of clients, a war has begun between two of the biggest web companies.

Any official announcement? I feel that Google don't like that their ads are displayed the way most of the Facebook app developers do (with many other ads, driving people to click and very low CPC).

Wait - I must be the only one who doesn't "get it": what does AdSense have to do with Facebook? Can someone explain how AdSense and Facebook advertising worked before The List?

You could have AdSense ads in your Facebook apps. Now you can't.

Any idea roughly how much revenue loss this represents for AdSense?


People who make facebook apps can put ad banners in them. Even zynga used to have them some time ago.

Any good experiences with the providers listed?


The real question is, does this include websites that simply USE facebook APIs?

If so, it would be extremely uncompetitive :)

No it doesn't include them. It only applies to apps on Facebook.com. Also known as canvas apps or iframe apps. Connect apps also known as Facebook for Websites are still free to use AdSense...which is why I converted my app to be a Facebook for Websites app this week.

If facebook is going to ban google, it should provide its own revenue possibility for its app dev's.

It is facebook. What would you expect? It is the same thing if Google didn't allowed facebook in their search results. Both "own" a monopoly and shouldn't be allowed to do such things.

It's not the same. Facebook is a social networking site. Google advertises to be a single stop indexer of all web sites.

Poor Google, using up their favors at the DOJ to go after MPEG-LA, when this is a more direct threat to their business, and also more likely to bear fruit in an antitrust probe.

You guys realize the linked forum thread is from all the way back in 2008? :-)

The "drop dead" date for prohibiting AdSense was not in 2008, it was on 2/28/2011.

Facebook lets you use the fruit of their labor for free. Then they do something to encourage revenue growth. But you're free to opt out (you don't have to make a Facebook app, or page, or place ads there, etc.) One may not like it but it's well within their rights to do it. Beggars can't be choosers. And vote with your feet. (And believe me I've hated some of Apple's walled garden decisions too, and yes I'm already voting with my feet there: more webapp-centric and, to lesser extent, Android.)

There goes the business plan for the 4 "businesses" so far this year that have asked me to build their website that's going to compete with Facebook. That's a shame. They all seemed so talented. </sarcasm>

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