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Facebook Bans AdSense In Apps 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-guys-play-nice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Three days ago Facebook finalized their list of accepted ad networks for use within Facebook Apps; AdSense being an (unsurprising?) omission from the list, stating that any missing ad network had yet to agree to the Facebook TOS. Facebook developers were quick to point out the only losers in this cold-war between Facebook and Google are the developers themselves. Other devs go on to clarify that the reputations of some of the accepted networks is shady at best, leaving developers with sub-par options to monetize their work on the Facebook platform."
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Facebook Bans AdSense In Apps

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @08:10PM (#35393030)

    So who really cares about this "debate"? Nobody who matters.

    • umm, no (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Weezul (52464) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @11:50PM (#35394148)

      I doubt that facebook will die, normally companies that get this big hang around indefinitely, even if they eventually turn into yahoo or aol.

      There is a killer app waiting to kill facebook, namely an open source private social networking application that takes photo & video sharing to the logical extreme of friend2friend file sharing. Ideally, you'd want all communications traffic-analysis-resistant and obviously encrypted. An approach might be making FreeNet user friendly and adding a FreeNet Social Networking app, but FreeNet seems slow as piss and incapable of handling even basic IM functionality.

      I doubt you'll knock out facebook without some major new feature though, like general purpose friend2friend file sharing. And you'll need solid plausible deniability before that one becomes viable.

      Alternatively, all the pitiful "also ran" social networks like Tuenti, Hi5, Orkut, etc. could gang up on facebook by adopting some common shared data model. I'd expect they'll try this eventually, but like 5+ years after facebook has killed them all, and only once google starts buying them.

      Another alternative might be for various countries to start legislating around social networks, requiring age verification, requiring that photos expire after 6 months, barring the data from being mirrored outside the country, barring civil servants from using foreign based social networks, etc.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So what if they hang around like some bad smell from Ye Olden Days of the Internet? How relevant is Yahoo! or AOL these days? Companies like those are on the brink of becoming SCOs.
        No doubt some people still actually use Myspace and Bebo for their intended purposes, but most former users - that is to say, 99% of users registered with those services - will have already forgotten their login names and passwords. It's not as if those companies matter any more.
        And I believe that was the point.
        Google will still

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Actually, sad to say, but that Yahoo Portal thingie we geeks can't fricking stand? You know, the big bloated picture and video mess complete with horoscope? That one? Yeah that thing sadly is like the number 1 home page for nearly all that aren't geeks. yeah I know but I swear that damned thing is so popular when I come across a PC that DON'T have their homepage set to that is when I actually notice, the thing is THAT damned popular.

          So I can see why MSFT wanted Yahoo and was happy to buy their searches, as

      • by thsths (31372)

        > Alternatively, all the pitiful "also ran" social networks like Tuenti, Hi5, Orkut, etc. could gang up on facebook by adopting some common shared data model.

        And open social network, that would be nice. Use well defined protocols and interfaces, and you could see the same aggregated streams in facebook, in buzz or in orkut. Facebook is never going to join that, though :-).

        • by Weezul (52464)

          Except that's potentially among the worst approaches for users. Does this open protocol just hand over all your data to any partner that asks? Ideally no, but exactly what data becomes invisible matters. I'd hope that at least the friend graph should become only locally visible, although still individual social networking sites are big enough for that graph to be concerning.

          I'm afraid the best solution would be a peer2peer system designed to prevent even traffic analysis :

          - Users are identified by a SHA-

        • by im3w1l (2009474)
          This is easily doable already with facebook social graph api
          • by thsths (31372)

            How does the social graph api show friend that I have on another network? I don't think it does...

            And does it allow me to see my facebook friends on another network? Maybe, but I am sure there are strings attached.

            Interoperability has to be the goal. Just like email works between different provides (you may not remember the time when some email systems were a walled garden, eventually linked by clumsy gateways...), so should social networks.

      • I doubt that facebook will die

        Just wait until apple gets serious about social networking.
        Hell, even google might get into trouble if apple would go into the search direction.

        • by Weezul (52464)

          Apple takes existing technology and polish the implementation until it fits the average user perfectly. You'll never see them deliver well on any technology that hasn't been well rehearsed elsewhere first.

          In fact, their only even inkling towards new technology has been backing the LLVM project, but that's partially meant to make up for shortcomings in their BSD kernel, i.e. protecting them from needing to switch kernels to Linux or something.

          Apple could obviously deliver a solid social networking applicati

          • Well, is seems it is just a matter of time until Apple just blocks facebook and google altogether, and provides their own version.

            Another strategy is to incrementally cripple the experience of facebook and google on their own hardware, luring users to their own services.

            • by Weezul (52464)

              Isn't "there's an app for that" precisely Apple's narrow minded vision of interoperability with the likes of facebook and google?

              *If* there was a standard for friending and access between different social networking providers, Apple might roll their own into MobileMe effectively endorsing that standard over Facebook. I doubt you'd see them cripple facebook on their products even then. And they'd never try going it alone without an established user base and a standard to follow.

          • by jedrek (79264)

            Apple takes existing technology and polish the implementation until it fits the average user perfectly. You'll never see them deliver well on any technology that hasn't been well rehearsed elsewhere first.
            Yeah, like Firewire, USB, touch screen cell phones, app stores, Thunderbolt, unibody laptops, single-unit computers, etc.

            For a community that's been up in arms agains anti-OSS FUD over the past decade, slashdot sure has no problem using the same tactics against non-OSS products/companies.

        • by jedrek (79264)

          Not everything Apple does is a hit, the same as Google - usually for different reasons, but usually with same outcome: a killed product/product line quietly brushed under the rug.

  • Facebook's demands (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nicopa (87617) <nico.lichtmaier@g m a i l . com> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @08:29PM (#35393156)

    The TOS "advertising providers" have to comply with are very very strict. I doubt Google will agree to things like these:

    [...] upon request, the Advertising Provider agrees to provide Facebook the names of and contact information for any employees and/or contractors and to specify those employees and/or contractors involved in designing, targeting, serving advertising related products/services, or otherwise providing any services covered by this Agreement.

    And Facebook would be able to "audit" Google for anything covered in the agreement:

    Facebook reserves the right to audit the Advertising Provider for compliance with these terms.

    And if anything goes wrong, Facebook already had decided the verdict of the trial:

    The Advertising Provider agrees that any violation of these terms may result in an immediate ban from the Facebook Platform and all Facebook websites, products and services. The Advertising Provider acknowledges and agrees that a breach or threatened breach by the Advertising Provider of these terms would cause irreparable injury, that money damages would be an inadequate remedy,

    • by Maestro4k (707634) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @08:40PM (#35393222) Journal

      The TOS "advertising providers" have to comply with are very very strict. I doubt Google will agree to things like these:

      [...] upon request, the Advertising Provider agrees to provide Facebook the names of and contact information for any employees and/or contractors and to specify those employees and/or contractors involved in designing, targeting, serving advertising related products/services, or otherwise providing any services covered by this Agreement.

      That's rather draconian, I'm not sure why any ad company would agree to those terms. It's a bit unreasonable for Facebook to demand the names and contact info of everyone involved in "designing, targeting, serving advertising related products/services". Does this mean that the companies who have agreed will have to fork over the contact info for every ad buyer that provides pre-designed ads? (In other words, nearly all ad buyers.) Sure sounds like it.

      Frankly this sounds like an attempt by Facebook to get the names of employees to headhunt for an eventual Facebook-owned Ad network, as well as making sure they have plenty of contacts at the companies who buy ads as well. This is seriously abusive, even by Facebook's normal behavior. I suspect any ad companies who have agreed to this already are going to seriously regret it in the future.

      Now as to me personally, I don't give a damn what they do here, I'm going to continue to adblock on Facebook because all the ads Facebook themselves run are obnoxious and annoying.

      • by HLJ76 (2007462)

        That's rather draconian, I'm not sure why any ad company would agree to those terms. It's a bit unreasonable for Facebook to demand the names and contact info of everyone involved in "designing, targeting, serving advertising related products/services". Does this mean that the companies who have agreed will have to fork over the contact info for every ad buyer that provides pre-designed ads? (In other words, nearly all ad buyers.) Sure sounds like it.

        I can think of one reason to agree with the terms: the ad company in question may be about to die due to Google competition and they know if they agree they not only get a chance to survive but also give Facebook the incentive they need to proceed with this and block any large and healthy ad company from the service.

        Frankly this sounds like an attempt by Facebook to get the names of employees to headhunt for an eventual Facebook-owned Ad network, as well as making sure they have plenty of contacts at the companies who buy ads as well. This is seriously abusive, even by Facebook's normal behavior.

        That is very likely, but I don't think this is beyond Facebook's standards. It does not surprises me at all. Another possibility is they are not doing it to seed competition, but instead as a sl

        • I can think of one reason to agree with the terms: the ad company in question may be about to die due to Google competition and they know if they agree they not only get a chance to survive but also give Facebook the incentive they need to proceed with this and block any large and healthy ad company from the service.

          To me, though, that translates:

          "My boyfriend isn't paying any attention to me lately. Maybe I can get Zuck to rape me."

      • by houghi (78078)

        In a normal country, this would be illegal, as it clearly harms the privacy of people.

        • by DeVilla (4563)
          Please expound upon the meaning of Normal here. I think that is important.
  • Shady ad companies for products on a shady portal.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      I ask this entirely out of ignorance.

      I'm in canada, so lots of websites that do location detection show me pretty crappy, off topic or downright strange adds (usually in lieu of music or TV adds that would be only available in the canada on different networks than the US0. These I think are actually shady, but I don't click on them to know. Facebook seems to have a lot of 'stop smoking' 'get laid', random nonsense job postings that sort thing. Even if it isn't, it seems pretty sketchy. Is it the same if

      • by zegota (1105649)
        Ads on the actual Facebook site are an entirely different matter from what shows up on apps. Ads on apps are done completely outside of Facebook's sphere of influence (other than the fact that they'll apparently ban you if you're using someone they don't like). Ads on the actual site are often done by random users. If you want, you can take out space advertising your resume. I see someone doing that every few months.
    • by thsths (31372)

      > Shady ad companies for products on a shady portal.

      You forgot "shady" in there :-).

  • by weston (16146) <westonsd@@@canncentral...org> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @08:59PM (#35393320) Homepage

    A couple of months back I spent a few weeks looking at developing a Facebook App. By the time I was done coding a simple one, I'd basically come to the conclusion that there were a lot better things to do with my time. Here's why:

    * The APIs and SDKs. There's a lot of them. And not in the lots-to-love sense. In the dissociative identity disorder sense. Some of them work as specified. Some of them don't.

    * The documentation. It sucks. It sucks extra because of the changes to the APIs -- a lot of times, you don't know if any given howto, forum post, internet article, and (in some cases) actual official documentation refers to the version of the API or SDK you're using. It sucks *particularly* hard because some complete moron at Facebook made the decision to blow away a community-built wiki site and replace it with a Bing search of the half-hearted official docs. And a lot of the links still out there still point to it.

    * The policy/UI changes. Profile boxes (rather successful interaction hooks) were phased out in favor of tabs, which were going to be The New And Better Way. Now tabs are going away -- why? Oh, because it turned out that people didn't actually use them and Facebook now has another idea of what to do.

    And this is from a company that's certainly sitting on the actual resources to do a hell of a lot better than this.

    Watching all this, I developed two theories about Facebook:

    1) It's possible that its success is more or less an accident of history -- they put something good enough together at the right time to become the premiere social network, and because of the network effect, it's sticky enough people don't simply defect despite its problems. But as an organization, they're not genuinely smart enough to do much further effectively... including providing a good platform for third-party devs.

    2) Facebook doesn't really actually care about providing an effective and reliable platform for developers. They don't have to. There's enough incentive for would-be devs to try something and see if it works out that they can let the mass of attempts hit the wall and fail, and still reap benefits from those who break through and make things work. In the meanwhile, they can pretty much shift agendas as they see fit, and if that breaks a number of developer eggs, oh well. More will come.

    I'm not sure which one is more true. My money is on #2, really, but there's possibly some measure of #1 as well. Either way, though, the upshot is that it's more or less an abusive platform, and the announcement that they're forbidding AdSense doesn't surprise me in the least -- it's totally consistent with both theories.

    If you've got an idea that needs to feed from the fabric of the social web in order to succeed, then it's still the place to go. But if you've got another idea that doesn't, it might be better to go with that than to work with these guys.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by williamhb (758070)

      1) It's possible that its success is more or less an accident of history -- they put something good enough together at the right time to become the premiere social network, and because of the network effect, it's sticky enough people don't simply defect despite its problems.

      You think that's an "accident"?? Almost certainly, that was the business plan! People were starting to turn on to the idea of social networks, and by targeting exclusively universities first, they would hit an early-adopter demographic just at the time they were forming many new social connections (freshers) that they wouldn't want to lose by moving to a different network later, and the network effect would make it grow. That ain't no accident!

      Either way, though, the upshot is that it's more or less an abusive platform

      Newsflash -- they're all abusive platforms. That's what tech

      • by ewe2 (47163)

        Yep, its all in the textbook.

        The good thing about this is that companies with this mindset from the beginning need a rock solid market opportunity to get too big to ignore. Yes, Facebook is in a good position now, but its really only at the whim of favoritism. Missteps expose their complete sociopathy, and I don't think Facebook is so central to the industry that anyone cares if they fall.

        • by rnswebx (473058)

          and I don't think Facebook is so central to the industry that anyone cares if they fall.

          That's laughable.

          Facebook is social gaming right now. There is at least one multi-billion dollar company created just from Facebook games (Zynga) who reaches something like 50 million social gamers per day. There are other multi-billion dollar companies who've recently entered the social gaming industry (Electronic Arts [EA], and Disney come to mind) and are trying to get a share of this enormous market.

          As much as w

      • by weston (16146)

        they would hit an early-adopter demographic just at the time they were forming many new social connections (freshers) that they wouldn't want to lose by moving to a different network later, and the network effect would make it grow. That ain't no accident!

        Theory #1 is compatible with the idea that while what you're saying is true, neither Zuck nor anybody else involved had an explicit understanding of this while they were building it.

        Newsflash -- they're all abusive platforms. That's what tech giants do....

    • by thsths (31372)

      > 2) Facebook doesn't really actually care about providing an effective and reliable platform for developers.

      That would explain my observation - which is that all facebook apps suck. Some may be marginally useful, but require way too much data access. Others are just plain silly or annoying.

      I think once we have a half decent local app platform, maybe with a social or cloud interface, facebook apps are going to be history.

  • by bmo (77928) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @09:41PM (#35393518)

    I don't use any Facebook apps at all. Ever.

    Why?

    Because every "click to confirm" dialog contains requests for information tantamount to anally raping my account with no lube and no reach-around.

    Maybe, just maybe, if I had more control over the granularity of such requests, I *might* just consider using a Facebook game or something. But the way things are right now, nope, not gonna happen.

    And if you're a Facebook app developer that is intent on anally raping Facebook user accounts, die in a fire.

    --
    BMO

    • by zegota (1105649)
      Nah, it's because the way Facebook sets up it's privacy. You can't really have the user do *anything* social unless you rape their privacy. Want to allow your player to transfer his name and profile picture over to the game? You have to access his pictures and his profile information. Want to allow him to invite his friends? You have to access his friends list. And there's not really a reason to put the game on Facebook if you're not utilizing the social aspects. It'd be wonderful if there were some sort of
      • by 517714 (762276)
        I agree that access to the whole of your information is a poor design decision, but aren't privacy and social networking mutually incompatible in the first place? Since they call it a social network why would anyone expect more than a modicum of privacy?
        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @10:36PM (#35393800) Journal
          "Social Networking" certainly, by design, involves some disclosure of certain information to certain people. That's the whole point. However, there are more and less privacy-hostile mechanisms for achieving the ends that users typically want.

          When it comes to Facebook's arrangement of privacy-related options, settings, and design, they are either actively malicious or so incompetent that their handling is indistinguishable from malice.
      • by Mandrel (765308)

        It'd be wonderful if there were some sort of option whereby an app could allow you to see a list of your friends, invite them, etc, without the actual app being able to see that information, but Facebook doesn't really provide that level of detail.

        An app can display a Request Dialog [facebook.com] that prompts the user to invite selected friends to use the app. But because the app gets a callback about who was invited, it's possible that apps can't do this without being given access to the user's public or private friend list. As you say, this should be possible even if an app hasn't requested access to anything. The docs don't make it clear what permissions are required.

      • by am 2k (217885)

        I'm writing an app where the user can upload images to his/her facebook account. For this, I need the additional "post to wall"-permission. That's fine and understandable, but even the basic permissions every app has to get are already in the "rape their privacy" range. I don't need even need to know the user's name or anything from the friends list. However, there's nothing I can do about that, the permission is still given.

        The exact wording is:

        Access my basic information
        Includes name, profile picture,

    • by dr_blurb (676176)
      What if you're an app developer and only want a little information to save the user a login?
      Impossible! All my app ( Calcudoku [facebook.com]) needs is:
      (1) user id, and (2) first name,
      but I'm forced to ask the user for "basic information", which is: name, picture, gender, networks, user id, list of friends, likes, music, about me, location, education history, and work history (what the ??!!)

      I'm also getting fed up with the changing APIs, lack of documentation, intermittent errors, and yes, I am using AdSense on th
  • Nobody likes ads anyhow, I cut cable tv 9 years ago and have pirated ever since due to spam and the massive amounts of ads that pop culture has turned into. I use adblock, peerguardian, updated blocklists and null routes in my router to avoid spam at all costs... several years ago people were as massively anti ads as I am now, but somehow the new 'politically correct' thing to do is to embrace ads for some odd reason and people actually defend ads nowdays... Sad really. There are many alternate ways for
    • by Skreems (598317)
      If you're replacing cable tv ONLY with piracy and not even occasionally buying a dvd or two, you kind of are a bad guy. If the only way to get content was ad-supported I might be with you, but there are plenty of legitimate ways to support the content you enjoy without dealing with ads.
    • If you're getting something for free in exchange for viewing ads, how is that a bad thing? Unintrusive ads are no problem, IMO...

      However, I end up blocking most ads too, because they are all far too detrimental to the experience:

      -Flash banners slow down my older PC hardware to a crawl, whereas the experience is more than fast enough when the banners are blocked
      -TV ads are, well, also entirely intrusive... to the point that I don't watch TV unless it's torrented

      If my browser only displayed ads that were stat

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Its boring, irrelevant and any of you twits actually fueling facebook with your private content are just tools. Lets see, at 3 cents an email address, how many have you all just given to facebook? Facebook is roughly equivalent to masturbation in public.

  • Hopefully practical is more important and better marketing to sales people.

  • Some of those "shady ad networks" gets blocked by chrome and probably some security plugins/extensions for other browsers because they are used to serve malware, so i bet facebook or fb app devels will cry foul when google blocks them because of those ads, not for being facebook.
  • I'd rather see Facebook's embedded code banned from websites - the one that lets you comment on any site because you're already signed in with your FB account, even though you never did and never would - but it's too late, because you've already requested all the user icons, so FB knows where you're browsing. ...then after the page loads in Opera, it contacts Facebook once every 0.25 seconds until you disable Javascript... I loathe it.

  • Really astounding........! facebook applications [signitysolutions.com]

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