The old Web was bumping along just fine until YouTube, Facebook and the others came along and gave it a shot in the arm and turned it into Web 2.0. But Google & Co. aren’t content with just changing the Web; they’ve turned out to control the Web, and therefore all the advertising that is done on it. The problem that the advertising industry has traditionally been raised to solve is: how do you catch the consumer off-guard and serve him an advertisement, he may not want to watch, or believe? There was consumer resistance in traditional advertising, but at least the companies held some control in their own hands how much money to spend to brainwash the consumer. But barely has the advertising industry caught up to how AdSense and search results work, than Facebook comes along to finish off the traditional advertising premise altogether.

Businesses at least had the consolation back then that the consumer had not much else to turn to for product information other than company-controlled advertising. But they do now: forums, Facebook, and Twitter. People have a hundred Facebook friends, and whatever they feel about a product, they vent their feelings and generate powerful word-of-mouth. When friends receive product information from a “friend”, the advertisers suddenly arte made irrelevant and have nothing left to say. Word of mouth has always found a great friend in the Internet of course; but Facebook and Twitter make word-of mouth particularly powerful.

For instance, when you have your own social networking facility on a company intra-net or a trade group the familiarity and identity felt with other members of your group is particularly strong. Advertised opinions will pale in comparison. Facebook’s social map Loomla, or Connect, for example, bring along you your personal cloud of trusted friends wherever you visit on the Internet. Any place you visit on the Internet, Loomla or Connect will tell you how many of your Facebook friends have visited before, read it, and said something about it. It’s like travelling with your own crowd of friends no matter where you go. And if any advertiser is going to want to get to you, he’s going to come through your friends. Perhaps Facebook is going to overtake Google and its AdSense after all in online advertising.