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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Facebook "Advertising"

I have a problem with the so-called advertising on Facebook. I, BTW, think it more closely resembles spam than real ads, but that's not my issue. Although why FB is willing to take anyone's money and let their site look like the inside of my spam folder is something I'll never understand.

What are my issues then?

How about the ads where you can make $5,000 a month by working from home? Yeah, right. If this is like the scam that used to go around a few years ago, the only way to make this is money is by rooking others into paying you for your information on how to work at home. These ads are a pyramid scheme, which are basically illegal in a lot of states from what I understand.

Then there's the ads where I can "get my share of Obama's stimulus package." The great part about this ad is that it was appearing on FB weeks before the stimulus package passed. Do people really think the federal government is handing average citizens checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars? But then, why do they need this money when they can make $5,000 a month working from home?

I also get ads where I'm being offered a chance to self-publish. Um, no thanks. See, the Publisher pays the author not the other way around. When I think of all the teenagers or young adults on FB who have a dream to be a writer one day, I hope to heaven they're smart enough not to get taken in by a vanity press. You want to self-publish your family history? Great! Or have a non-fiction niche subject with a built-in audience that's too small for a publisher? That's a good option for self-publishing, too. Fiction? Nope. Don't do it.

The FB ads also show pictures of celebrities--implying an endorsement that I guarantee you they do not have--and FB has done nothing to rein in this misleading and probably illegal tactic. I swear if I could find some way to email Oprah, I would let her people know that her name and image have been used without her permission. So have images of Rachel Ray, Angelina Jolie, Cheryl Tiegs, and so many other famous people that even I recognize them. :-)

They've had their images and names associated with wrinkle removers (Does anyone really believe a Hollywood celebrity is wrinkle-free because of cream? I immediately think plastic surgery, but then I'm cynical when it comes to "miracle creams.") and a gazillion weight loss products of various kinds, including the magic berry.

Lately I've noticed a new ad with Katie Couric's picture--As seen on 60 Minutes. Here's their magic product that will make you live forever. Um, sorry, I watched that episode of 60 Minutes and they talked about a chemical found in red wine. Researchers are investigating whether or not they can make it into a pill form that will work. I'm supposed to believe that your doctors out-trumped the doctors interviewed on the show and beat them to the punch? Call me a cynic, but I'll wait until someone reputable bottles this.

I've also been challenged to compare my IQ to Bush, Obama, and Manny Ramirez of all people. (Baseball player formerly with the Boston Red Sox who finished the 2008 season on the Los Angeles Dodgers.) I've been offered a free hot pink MacBook just so I can use it and tell them what I think about it. Somehow I don't think Apple is just giving those things away in exchange for opinions. There are similar ads for pink iPhones--guess you're not supposed to wonder who's going to pay that monthly phone bill.

The thing that bugs me the most about these ads is that they are hugely misleading and designed to rook kids who don't know any better. If Facebook previewed the ads and just cut out the illegal stuff like the pyramid schemes and the bait ones that would help. What they should be doing is not allowing the ads that are using celebrity pictures and names without permission. If that isn't illegal, it's sure as heck immoral, but I believe celebrities have a right over their images for the purpose of advertising. Being a public figure does not give anyone the right to stick your face on an ad for miracle wrinkle cream or anything else.

Grrr! I wish I could tune these ads out the way others do, but I can't. I've reported the offenders on the celebrity front over and over and over, but Facebook does nothing. Anyone have Oprah's email?