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The Perilous World of Opt-In Advertising

facebook like opt in thumbs up blueThe bane of the Internet has always been advertising.  There’s no denying that online ads have improved hundredfold, but there’s also no denying that most of us cringe when we see that a site has prominent advertising.  Unfortunately, this necessary evil can sometimes take away some of a site’s perceived value.

For the short time ads have have been around on social networks they’ve actually been quite beneficial in a number of ways.  For example, advertising via social media has shown us new ways to use the web, given the individual new avenues of finding businesses to suit their needs, and allowed companies to gather useful insights about their customers.

Now, as social networks are looking to grow their revenue streams, the old methods just aren’t cutting it like they used to.  The results we’re seeing are attempts to monetize what simply was not intended to be monetized.  Mark Zuckerberg’s recent letter to investors proposed that advertising will begin to play a bigger role in its system because it provides the money needed to develop new tools..  In reality, most of these networks just were not designed to make money in the first place, and it’s becoming more and more obvious and intrusive every time they want a new revenue stream.

In theory, it makes sense to target a person based on who their friends are and what they like.  But if users loathe the idea of being bombarded with ads in the first place, it’s no longer such a good idea. This is just one of the reasons Facebook users are expressing so much discontent.  In Facebook’s case it may be possible to opt-out of the ads, but the process is so convoluted and buried that no one seems to know how to do it.

Fixing the opt in advertising system is an obstacle that needs to be improved in the social networking realm, but there is a solution.  There is a good way to fix it that is beneficial for the advertisers, the users, and the social network itself.  We think this is achievable, there is a solution…

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