Will Facebook Sell Recommendations?

Posted on April 15, 2009. Filed under: Facebook, Social Media | Tags: , , , , |

As Facebook continues to evolve it is interesting to note how much attention they have given to the development of the Fan page concept. Originally Fan pages were a very limited, cut down version of the personal page. They had much less functionality and their ability to provide a communications platform was minor.

The recent revisions of Facebook were overshadowed by the new look homepage which met a lot of resistance from users when it was first launched. With all that attention the other changes have been largely overlooked. Fan pages have become identical to the personal page. They can have all of the same content artifacts (pictures, video etc.) they can even be programmed to take other tools through the Facebook Markup Language (FBML).

The latest development which I really took notice of yesterday for the first time was the inclusion of Fan pages in the “People you might know” section. I find this interesting for two reasons, firstly Fan pages arent limited to People, so under People I might know now appear branded products. Secondly, I see this as a move toward monetization of friend recommendations by Facebook.

Here is the current recommendation list for me:

fansuggestionsOf these three, one is a business run by a friend, so that’s fair enough, one is someone I have never heard of and the other is the comedian Chris Rock. A quick google search told me Anthony Robbins is a Life Strategist – who knew? Well apparently someone in my friends circle, or at least that is my assumption. People you might know is usually based on 2nd order friendships, in other words, friends of friends, I actually use this quite a lot as it’s a good reminder of people I want to connect with and haven’t yet. The addition of Fan pages is interesting to me because Brands that have fan pages that friends have become fans of already show up in the righthand sidebar of my homepage. Now they are showing up as “recommendations” – what would a brand pay to appear in that list?

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