Italy-based social networking company, Dada S.p.A., is partnering with Google AdSense to pay users for allowing ads on their space. Dada’s new Friend$ is an opt-in revenue sharing program that rewards users for adding friends and updating the content of their Dada space. According to Dada, Friend$ is, “the only program that rewards you both for keeping your personal space updated (blog, video, profile, etc.) and for spreading the word by inviting friends to do the same.” The idea is that users keep their Dada space updated and invite friends to participate in Friend$. In exchange, Google posts ads on their site/friends site, and pays users and their friends a percentage of the money generated by click-through on those ads.
I wonder how advertisers feel about this? It seems like an easy system for Dada users and their friends to exploit for revenue purposes. If I were an advertiser, I’m not sure how excited I’d be by having people click on my ad with the express purpose of extorting me for their own/ friends’ financial well being.
Similarly, I find this whole concept a little disconcerting in that it encourages social networkers to talk about specific topics for the express purpose of generating revenue. I feel perfectly okay about the idea of hiring paid spokespeople to talk about companies, so long as the public knows that they’re being paid. However, I take issue with situations like this, where there are blurred lines of distinction between people talking about what they’re genuinely interested in versus talking about things they’re being paid to discuss. It’s not Dada and Google are talking about sponsoring corporate blogs… In a way, they’re steering kids (and adults) towards discussing specific topics their conversations, blogs, profiles, etc. If a social networker wants to make money through Friend$, and they know which companies use Google AdSense, I suspect that it will be very easy for them to exploit the system.
What do you think?