Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Facebook Would Like to Sell You a Mobile Ad


A frequent refrain from the growing number of Facebook bears: The company doesn’t know how to make money on mobile, even though its users spend a ton of time there.

Here’s a small step in the right direction: Facebook will now let advertisers place messages on its mobile apps, without having to pay for desktop placement as well.

Recall that Facebook didn’t have any mobile ads at all until the end of February, when it rolled out a plan where marketers could claim part of users’ feeds with content that doubled as ads. But when those ads launched, Facebook wouldn’t let someone just buy mobile — they had to sign up for a one-size-fits-all plan.

The truth is that mobile ads are nascent for everyone, not just Facebook. So it’s hard to say how much impact a move like this will have. But it can’t hurt.

(Update: Wanted to confirm with Facebook before I posted this part — for now, Facebook still isn’t pricing mobile any differently than its desktop product, which isn’t always the case with other Web publishers. But since the company uses a bidding mechanism to set pricing, mobile may effectively end up at a different value than desktop ads anyway, since you’ll now have mobile-only ad buyers bidding against other mobile-only buyers.)


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work