Facebook User-Directed Ads To Appear On Zynga Website
June 25, 2012

Facebook User-Directed Ads To Appear On Zynga Website

One of the world's most popular social media websites announced on Friday that they would begin placing user-specific ads on the website of casual game developer Zynga in an attempt to find new ways to generate revenue after going public, various media outlets have reported.

According to articles from both Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has confirmed that they would begin placing "Sponsored Stories" advertisements on the San Francisco-based social gaming giant's website.

The move, which comes in the wake of the social network's recent initial public offering (IPO), could be the genesis of their attempt to create their own ad network, similar to Google's AdSense service, the Journal's Shayndi Raice said.

Prior to this move, the website's "Sponsored Stories" (which show users specific products or services that have been "liked" by other members that they have "friended" on the network) had not been published on any non-Facebook websites or mobile apps, Bloomberg's Douglas MacMillan added.

"People may now see ads and sponsored stories from Facebook on Zynga.com. We don´t share any information about people or advertisers with Zynga and advertisers do not have any new targeting criteria," Facebook spokesman Annie Ta said in an e-mailed statement, according to MacMillan.

Zynga spokeswoman Amy Sezak declined the Bloomberg reporter's request for comment.

"Pundits have said for years that Facebook should launch an AdSense-Killer offsite ad network, but it wisely delayed until now," TechCrunch blogger Josh Constine wrote on Friday. "Beyond the meddling of extremists like Europe vs. Facebook, a major privacy scare hasn´t rattled the average Facebook user in quite a long time. The company even emerged from privacy audits by U.S. and European government agencies without having to make changes."

"With time, many users have come to realize that personal data-targeted ads are actually less annoying because they promote things they might actually want to buy," he added. "People are ready to realize that a lack of targeting data is the primary reason ads on the Internet are so annoying. Facebook´s ad network could make them relevant. It´s the right time for off-site ads."

He also gave Facebook credit for launching them solely on Zynga's website, as the Facebook users "have already given their personal data while playing games like FarmVille, CityVille, and its acquired Draw Something. This is the right way to roll out off-site ads“¦ With this careful strategy, Facebook has prepared the world for seeing those little blue-boxed ads all over the Internet. It still might wait months or more to officially launch an ad network."

Others, including CNET's Chris Matyszczyk, were less complementary.

"Zynga is a natural progression from Facebook. It's almost a part of Facebook. Nothing to be concerned about here," he wrote. "Yet we are surely less than an Olympic triple jump away from you wafting around your favorite online shopping site, only to discover that your friend Janice has already bought two green tank tops and a pair of pink pleated shorts."

While Matyszczyk admitted that a Facebook ad network was "something of an inevitability" and that the company "needs to monetize it as swiftly as it," he added that he believed that the social media network's widespread advertisements would "do terrible things to your mind."

"You won't be able to get away from the knowledge that your friends might be more interesting than you are," the CNET writer concluded. "You will be constantly reminded of their latest purchases, their latest interests“¦ this will be merely be Keeping up with the Joneses taken to a steroidal extreme. The more you try to live your own life, the more Facebook will remind you of how much more exciting it could be."