Why Facebook Timeline Ads Suck

April 9th, 2012 | Guest Contributor | 27 Comments

Higgs bosonGuest post by Brian Meeks

I was going to write a post on Pinterest, which has piqued my interest. Yes, the rhyme was intentional… and brilliant.

Well maybe not brilliant, per se, but better than being attacked by an ill tempered gorilla. I like to set the bar low, sometimes burying it.

I digress…

This is NOT a Pinterest post, mostly because I’m preoccupied with my Timeline on Facebook, and not in a good lion cub hugging sort of way.

I see ads “not by facebook.” They are all over my Timeline. There is a banner ad for audible.com with a picture of Steve Jobs trying to get me to buy his book. I will not!

Now, please, let’s remember, this is my Timeline. I am concerned, quite concerned, that these ads might ruin my life and bring about an end to the world. In fact, I’m certain of it.

Imagine the not so distant future, say October 2012, and my Henry Wood Detective series has started to get some traction. Books are selling and there is about three bumblebees’ worth of buzz on the Internet.

One day, possibly Thursday Oct 4, 2012, a woman in Devonshire, U.K. sees a tweet about my book and buys a copy for her sister, who loves mysteries, and sends her a Kindle version. The woman, a lingerie model doing a shoot in the Maldives, starts to read it and is immediately smitten with the author, yours truly.

She is exhausted from the weeks of being excessively pretty. The model would much rather be curled up on the couch contemplating the significance of Higgs boson.

Her boyfriend, a very dashing model in his own right, has begun to bore her. She dumps him and decides to start stalking me through Facebook, which I wholeheartedly approve of, and accept her friend request with glee.

Things seem to be going well, she finds my writing delightful, and then one day she checks out my timeline.

It seems that between posting a link to a snark-filled post about Snooki and another about my upcoming book, I decided to take a break and put up an ad for Viagra, and along the top of the page is a banner extolling the virtues and aerobic benefits of baby seal clubbing.

She is gone forever. 

Naturally, my hope of dating a superhot particle physicist being dashed pushes me over the limit. In my grief I discover the secret to cold fusion and use my unlimited power to attempt to take over the world. It all goes horribly wrong and life as we know it ceases to exist.

Now, I admit that I could probably use some exercise, but I’m not going to club baby seals.

Those little buggers are a lot quicker than they look, so I’d probably start with a non-lethal spin class, and eventually work my way up to running them over with my Schwinn.

The point is that these ads “not by facebook” have nothing to do with my timeline or me.

The ads are placed by uneducated troglodytes who don’t know that Facebook is a proper name and needs to be capitalized. I wish them ill.

What I wonder is why Facebook, in its marketing plans, doesn’t give me an option of paying for their service?  I pay for Spotify. It is worth $4.95 per month to get my music commercial-free.

If Facebook did this, it would raise somewhere between $4.95 and 3.5 billion per month. I don’t mind the ads on the right; that is where I expect them and it is fine that they are there.

I just want to have my Timeline, which represents me and my ramblings, free of ads.

Heck, if they did that, I might even pin Facebook on Pinterest.

Image: jurvetson via Flickr, CC 2.0

Brian Meeks used to make his living in the virtual world of Second Life, where he built spaces for corporate clients under the name Ecocandle Riel. When the economy went south, he turned to Social Media to feed and clothe himself.  In his free time, he does … well … social media … and publishes the blog Extremely Average. He can be reached by email at ExtremelyAverageOne (a) gmail (dot) com, or by carrier pigeon at the house with the big tree out front.

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"A Little Birdie Told Me" could fly into your inbox just once a month. It's Shonali-as-seen-nowhere-else. What're you waiting for?

27 comments
Kim
Kim

It's not anything to do with facebook, it's a third party program either installed on your browser or it's installed in your computer. I had the same thing happen to me :)

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

Brian you're absolutely hilarious, thank you for a good chuckle this morning. But on a serious note...yes the new Facebook ads do suck!

bdorman264
bdorman264

Yes Brian, if you set the bar low enough you will never be disappointed............:)

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Facebook timeline ads suck because Facebook sucks.

 

If you use Firefox you can block all digital ads like I do. But doesn't stop other people from seeing ads in your timeline. I don't use facebook much personally I just run a brand page so what do I know.

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

I have billions of them.  If you click on your name and look at your timeline, not the stream of the people you follow, there they are, or maybe it is just me who is getting them.  Darn you Mark Zuckerburg!

Latest blog post: Brain Fog pt 1

KenMueller
KenMueller

Funny stuff, Brian, I love it. Though I have to say, the only place I see ads are on the side of my newsfeed, not within my Timeline, so I'm not sure which specific ads you are discussing. 

 

But thanks for a great laugh this morning!

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

Matt,

 

   I think Kim has uncovered the truth of the matter.  We are both infected with a computer virus.  :-(  I haven't figured it out yet.  When I logged onto FB from work, the ads didn't appear.  Ugh.

KenMueller
KenMueller

 @ExtremelyAvg Oh, well I only get two ads, and they are up in the upper right hand corner, outside of the timeline. Perhaps you are confusing Facebook Ads with Instagram. I see a lot of those! (See how I pulled our Facebook discussion over here??)

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @KenMueller I went to your page and saw 4, including a banner ad.  They aren't on the timeline you watch for the people you follow, but on your personal one.

Latest blog post: Brain Fog pt 1

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @KenMueller I'm not sure which ads they are, either. I still only see the sponsored ones, which are humorously irrelevant. 

 

I did have fun reading this post, though!

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @KenMueller I am 100% sure you are right, that it has nothing to do with you, but if 100,000 people, or 500,000,000 people start having the same thing happen, that is happening to me, then they will see ads and may not understand that they are unrelated to you.

Latest blog post: Brain Fog pt 1

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @Erin F.  @KenMueller I've made a video and am uploading it to Youtube, now.  When it is done, I'll post the link.  I suspect I'm part of a pilot program to see if anyone complains.  I joined FB shortly after it came out of beta, so they probably think I'll be a good soldier.  I won't!

 

The part that makes me mad is that when it goes mainstream, if my theory is correct, the ads seem like they are being endorsed by me.

Latest blog post: Brain Fog pt 1

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @KenMueller My question is, do you support Michelle Obama and the Obama administration, and if so, would you mind if it was an ad for say Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh?  Does the fact that it is running on your page equal a tacit endorsement?

Latest blog post: Brain Fog pt 1

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @KenMueller I've decided to video several people's pages, as I see them, and put it out there.  I found the ads on Gini's, Shonali's, Bill O'Riely's page and every other one I go to.  It seems I may have  been singled out.  That makes me even more upset.  When I get the video up, I'll leave a link.

Latest blog post: Brain Fog pt 1

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @KenMueller That is very odd.  I wonder if I've been selected to test their new ad plan. I see them on anyone's page that I go to.

Latest blog post: Brain Fog pt 1

KenMueller
KenMueller

 @ExtremelyAvg OK, I see what you're talking about on that picture, but I just went to a bunch of friends profiles. i've never see that banner ad anywhere else. And for me, i do see two ads in the right hand margin, but they are at the top, not in the timeline. I never even notice those. I think you're being singled out...it's all a plot

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