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Monday, November 05, 2007

Personal Profiles Not About Facebook

Tim O'Reilly is partially right when discussing the need for open applications to access Facebook profiles (riffing on Mark Cuban).

We do need standard open access for anyone -- friends or advertisers -- to access the information about us online. But it is wrong to assume that Facebook should be the starting point.

Despite its current position as the "it" social networking company, we shouldn't assume the Facebook profiles will continue to be the most important description of individuals online. I say we go further and get Google, MySpace, Facebook et al to agree on a common format for storing personal profile information. This platform-agnostic data would include links to all social networking profiles and set the permissions for releasing information.

Advertisers would be able to create much more targeted ads if they had this information, and individuals would be able to blacklist any advertiser who abused the privilege. The ad industry could set guidelines for access to this data to prevent the inevitable ne'er do wells.

I'd be willing to tell advertisers my basic demographic information if they promise never to put ads in front of me or my email for dating services or feminine hygiene.  Let's let all of our social networks have access so that applications can be tailored to us, and allow us to control what advertisers can know.

By John Gartner at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

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