Facebook’s #3 advertiser is Microsoft search hijacking page

Jan 18, 2011

1.75 billion Facebook ad impressions were purchased by the Microsoft proxy.

In a post called "Facebook Books $1.86B in Advertising; Muscles In on Google Turf," Adage details Facebook's growing advertising pool. Here's a chart of social networking's biggest ad sources. Obviously, Facebook is most of that.

Two notables stand out...

Interestingly, Google itself was the fifth-biggest advertiser for the same period, as it was looking to market its Chrome web browser. Curiously, the third-biggest advertiser was a completely unknown brand called Make-My-Baby.com that bought 1.75 billion ad impressions in the third quarter.

While Google (goog) advertising its Chrome web browser on Facebook is an interesting play, Make-my-Baby.com is even more interesting.  As Googler Matt Cutts points out, Make-My-Baby.com is a spyware company that has gone from selling cell phone owners auto-recurring fees of $10-$20 each month, to peddling software that sets homepage and default search on browsers to Microsoft's Bing.  ReadwriteWeb goes further:

<!-- p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 21.0px; font: 14.0px Arial} span.s1 {color: #ff0000} -->

What is it [Make-My-Baby]? It's a paper-doll-type site that lets you put eyeglasses and mustaches on top of a funny looking baby's face. At least that appears to be what it is; before you can do anything the site says you have to install "a browser plug-in to present an enhanced experience." If you do so, according to the fine print, your browser's default search and home page will be switched to Bing. Once you do so, the affiliate company behind the toolbar, called Zugo, will capture a slice of the revenue whenever you click on a search ad.

<!-- p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 14.0px 0.0px; line-height: 21.0px; font: 14.0px Arial} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 21.0px; font: 14.0px Arial} -->At best, Facebook is showing billions (literally) of spyware ads that trick users into installing browser-hijacking software.

Microsoft (msft) issued this response:<!-- more -->

Distribution deals and affiliate programs are an important part of how all search engines introduce their product to customers. That said, we have been made aware of some practices from a specific publisher that are not compliant with the guidelines, best practices and principles put in place by Bing. As a result, the relationship with this publisher will be terminated.

It is surprising to me that enough users install this affiliate program for it to be successful.  Buying millions of "ads" on Facebook seems to speak for itself.

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