I’m surprised it took them this long

Facebook turns pollster in search for cash • The Register

Executives at the loss-making firm plan to charge brands for carrying out polls of their users.

The system will tap the well of personal information pumped into Facebook by members, allowing corporations to target members in specific age groups and locations, and with specific interests.

“It takes a very long time to do a focus group, and businesses often don’t have the luxury of time. I think they liked the instant responses.”

Facebook is apparently aware that in attempting to sell its users, it has to sell them as people worth paying to access. “The vast majority are not just college students in the US talking about things in their bedrooms,” Randi Zuckerberg said. “We are showing how we are a serious and insightful community.”

Let me see, I was pitching this idea for a culturally hot online community back in 1997, or was it ’96? And I wasn’t the only one thinking along these lines.

Of course, people who participate in focus groups usually get paid, but of course when it’s web 2.x they’ll supply all their carefully-thought-out insights for free.

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