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You're Not Just The Product, You're The Ads (And Your Friends Should Thank You), by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

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Josh Constine writes:

Word of mouth, sponsored. Trusted recommendations, promoted. Reviews from friends, endorsed. This is the new lexicon of advertising. As the world learns to ignore traditional advertising online, tech giants have found a way to grab people’s attention: using your name, face, and words. Are we okay with that? Maybe we should be.

Today, Google announced “Shared Endorsements”, an expansion of its program of using your Google+ ‘+1s’ in ads. Now Google can show your activity such as following a brand, commenting on a post, or reviewing a business in ads that feature your name and face to people you allow to see the actions you took. Google lets businesses pay it to share those endorsements with more of your friends than would have seem them normally in search results, maps, Google+, and elsewhere. And Google’s not alone.


Facebook pioneered this social advertising model in 2011 with its“Sponsored Stories” ad units. Facebook’s filtered News Feed only shows you the most important posts about your friends. But if you Like a brand’s Page or post, check in at a business, download or use an app, or share a link, advertisers can pay to boost that action’s visibility in the feed or have it appear in sidebar ads.

Twitter has social ads too. Its “Promoted Tweets” show posts from businesses you don’t follow. To show these businesses are reputable and relevant the ads show the names of people you follow who follow that business. A Promoted Tweet from HP in my stream mentions three accounts I follow that follow it. Twitter doesn’t use your face, words, or content in its ads, though, and the social context is much less prominent than on Google and Facebook.

There has GOT to be a better way.