As I was about to go to bed, I refreshed my Facebook newsfeed/homepage and happened to catch that today’s gift is free. What?! They finally caved in and made gifts free? No. They’ve allowed their first commercial “gift” to penetrate the cheerful bunch of furry creatures, birthday wishes, and pop culture references, and even make it very clear why the gift is free: “The Skittles Gum gift is FREE to promote Skittles New Gum.”
While I’m sure it was quite expensive for this deal to take place, I guess we can expect similar items in the future. It will go nicely with the 2 sponsored polls in the last week I’ve had take up significant real estate in my newsfeed asking whether I would like to purchase a book on how to seduce women. (I’m guessing they are using polls to advertise because they can specify target audiences, unlike with flyers. Plus, people actually have to notice the polls.)
While advertisements creeping into Facebook’s core features is nothing new, as best I can tell at this late hour, this will be the first time they’ve allowed it to appear in users’ profile pages. (Obviously not including applications.) I hope next month they’ll introduce sponsored applications that are automatically added when you join Facebook, or better yet, interstitial ads.