J bro dkin facebo o k shuts do wn beaco n p ro gram

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Unformatted text preview: ent nature o f so cial netwo rks be harnessed to o f f er truly usef ul co nsumer inf o rmatio n to its users? Wo rd o f mo uth is co nsidered the mo st persuasive (and valuable) f o rm o f marketing,V. Kumar, J. Andrew P etersen, and Ro bert Leo ne, “Ho w Valuable Is Wo rd o f Mo uth?” Harv ard Business Rev iew 85, no . 10 (Octo ber 2007): 139—46. and Facebo o k was a giant wo rd o f mo uth machine. What if the f irm wo rked with vendo rs and grabbed co nsumer activity at the po int o f purchase to put it into the news f eed and po st it to a user’s pro f ile? If yo u rented a video , bo ught a co o l pro duct, o r dro pped so mething in yo ur wish list, yo ur buddies co uld get a heads-up, and they might ask yo u abo ut it. The perso n being asked f eels like an expert, the perso n with the questio n gets a f rank o pinio n, and the vendo r pro viding the data just might get ano ther sale. It lo o ked like a ho me run. This ef f o rt was named Beaco n. So me f o rty e-co mmerce sites signed up, including Blo ckbuster, Fandango , eBay, Travelo city, Zappo s, and the New Yo rk Times. Zuckerberg was so co nf ident o f the ef f o rt that he sto o d bef o re a gro up o f Madiso n Avenue ad executives and declared that Beaco n wo uld represent a “o nce-in-a-hundred-years” f undamental change in the way media wo rks. Like News Feeds, user reactio n was swif t and brutal. The co mmercial activity o f Facebo o k users began sho wing up witho ut their co nsent. The biggest pro blem with Beaco n was that it was “o pto ut” instead o f “o pt-in.” Facebo o k (and its partners) assumed users wo uld agree to sharing data in their f eeds. A po p-up bo x did appear brief ly o n mo st sites suppo rting Beaco n, but it disappeared af ter a f ew seco nds.E. Nakashima, “Feeling Betrayed, Facebo o k Users Fo rce Site to Ho no r Their P rivacy,” Washingto n P o st, No vember 30, 2007. Many users, blind to these so rts o f alerts, either clicked thro ugh o r igno red the warnings. And well…there are so me purchases yo u might no t want to bro adcast to the wo rld. “Facebo o k Ruin...
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