Facebook Advertising Woopsie

August 7th, 2009 No comments

facebook_logoI must admit, I have a Facebook account.  I also must admit that I don’t do much with it.  I log into it from time to time to see what my friends are up to, but I just don’t “get it”.  All the games and quizzes and lists…it just feels like a time killer.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy relaxing and surfing the Internet, it’s just that Facebook feels strange.  Of course, writing a blog seems strange to me, too, but here I am.  And Twitter…well, I haven’t braved those waters yet.  And I really don’t see a benefit there, but that’s a whole other story.

The privacy implications with Facebook have always irked me.  People put their entire life history on display, from school to professional to personal life.  It’s staggering how much information some people put in their profiles, and it’s all at Facebook’s disposal.  As a free service, you expect it to be ad driven…they’re not exactly an altruistic company.  As Google has taught us, targeted advertising is effective advertising.  However, using members’ information and photos in targeted advertising is going too far.

As an example of targeted advertising gone awry, check out this article: http://redtape.msnbc.com/2009/07/hey-peter-the-ad-said-hot-singles-are-waiting-for-you-he-might-have-dismissed-the-advertisement-which-appeared-on-his-fa.html

If I had seen that ad with a friend’s photo (married or not), my ears would certainly perk up.  And if I saw my wife’s photo, well that would certainly prompt a few questions!  According to Facebook, a third-party application is the root cause, but it sure seems fishy to me.

There is a security setting to (supposedly) prevent your photo from appearing in these “third-party application” ads, just go to: Settings -> Privacy Settings -> News Feed and Wall -> Facebook Ads.  After closing the propaganda-esque warning box, you’ll see the option regarding ads on platform pages showing your information.  Just choose “No One” in the drop down list, unless you want your likeness used to endorse products without your knowledge or approval.  Be sure to scroll to the bottom and choose No one for the social action ads as well.

Now I could swear that I modified this setting a week or so ago, thanks to a friend’s request, but when I returned this morning it was back to “Only my friends.”  A bit strange to say the least.  Maybe I’m just a private person, but if I’m going to be promoting a product or service, I would like to know about it.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , ,

What's in a Name?

August 5th, 2009 No comments

Disney World

We are planning our first family pilgrimage to Disney World this October. We are also going next June, so my original thought was to purchase annual passes. The cost/benefit ratio seemed high enough, there were discounts and other perks for annual passholders.  Plus the convenience of not having to mess with tickets every time is worth something.

I was on the Disney World website last Saturday night (8/1), ready to purchase 5 annual passes. I had them in my cart and went to check out, but lo, I need an account. No surprise, this is the marketing engine that is Disney. So I dutifully filled out the form and clicked submit…only to learn that something I entered was considered “filthy”. Hmm, that’s strange, I didn’t enter anything naughty, yet the form is telling me it’s either my first or last name.

Surely it’s not Jeremy, which leaves only Tolsdorf. Well, almost there…the only catch now is my email address. It’s tolsdorf.com, and apparently it’s filthy, too! When all else fails, reach for the telephone, right? Wrong. It’s Saturday night, do you really think there are Disney ticket agents available?

I was finally able to register with Smith as my last name, and somehow managed to find a form that allowed me to use tolsdorf.com in my email address, so now I’m set, right? Well, not exactly. Disney traditionally updates their pricing the first Sunday in August…which means those annual passes are about to go up by about 5%. Sure enough, by the time I can get back to them, new pricing has been loaded and the grand total just went up by $94!  This all happened prior to midnight as well, which is when new pricing is supposed to begin.

The entire ordeal necessitated a friendly email to ticket services, which I am sure will be faithfully read and acted upon. My calls to Disney the next morning were useless. All of their ticket agents were told in no uncertain terms that new pricing was in effect, period, and my filthy name wasn’t going to change their mind.

In the end it actually worked out for the best. I’ve revisited our ticket needs, and I don’t think I’ll spend the extra money for those annual passes after all.  I would rather spend the money on activities with the kids while we’re there, a trip to Disney is all about making memories anyway.  I suppose Disney still gets the money, but at least I’ll have more fun this way. As long as I’m allowed in the park with such a filthy name.