FACEBOOK officially unveiled a multi-faceted ad system that taps into user referrals and exploits the site’s “social graph.” The system allows brands to establish company profiles on the network. When a user interacts with a company page, the activity (and a display ad) will be reported virally to that user’s network via news feeds. Beacon will add the same functionality to partnering sites outside of Facebook.com. Lastly, Insight will give advertisers extensive analytics about users that have interacted with their company. Users cannot opt-out of the advertising system. Mark Zuckerberg openly declared the site’s business model, saying that Facebook “is an ad-supported service.” 60 consumer brands have signed up for on-site promotion and 44 will initially participate in Beacon.
LEVEL 3 has expanded its content delivery options to include video streaming in all the major formats, including Windows Media, Quicktime, RealPlayer, Flash and more. The expansion of video options is the result of acquiring Servecast, a provider of video management services and online streaming.
AT&T has cut forecasts for its U-verse IPTV service, dropping expected availability to 17 million homes by the end of 2008. In May it said it would reach 19 million homes in the same time period. The company also raised estimates on the necessary capital spending required by $500 million, saying costs would reach between $4.5 billion and $5 billion. AT&T blamed the extra costs and delays on bringing U-verse to the customers of recently-acquired BellSouth.
KEVIN MARTIN came out in support of the Open Handset Alliance, the new Google-led mobile phone initiative that includes handset makers and mobile carriers. The FCC chairman said that having open standards “fosters innovation and enhances consumers’ freedom.” Martin recently made open-access a requirement for winners of the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction.
OPRAH has brought YouTube to her sizable audience this week, delivering a major endorsement for online video. First she launched “Oprah on YouTube,” a new YouTube channel that features behind-the-scenes views and exclusive video. She also dedicated an entire show to the video-sharing site, interviewing founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. On the program, she screened some of the most popular YouTube videos and brought their creators into the studio. Oprah urged her audience to visit YouTube and spoke enthusiastically about the power of online video.