Correcting the mistakes of Beacon

It looks like Facebook (FB) is looking for ways of resolving the Beacon issue and this time they decided to use their users. Recently a call for participation in the survey appeared under a nice title “What do you think”?

FB survey

In fact FB doesn’t really care what you think, but it is interested in knowing more about your online shopping behavior. Here is what they got there:

  1. Have you bought anything online in the past three months?
  2. In total, how much have you spent online in the last three months?
  3. In total, how much do you intend to spend online in the next three months?
  4. Thinking about retailers you are loyal to, how important are each of the following in making you a loyal shopper to those retailers? (followed by 14 items that you can rate on a 5 point scale).
  5. Have you done any of these activities while shopping at an ONLINE store in the past three months? (that’s and interesting one, because i think it is clearly aimed at looking for ways of utilizing social network website for advertising). Here are the categories for answer:
    • Sat at the computer with friend(s)
    • Talked to a friend via cell phone
    • Sent a text message to a friend via cell phone/device
    • Received a text message via cell phone/device
    • IMed a friend
    • Emailed a message to a friend
    • Emailed a link to the store to a friend
    • Took a photo and emailed it to a friend
    • Emailed a product photo to a friend
    • Emailed a cool/funny app to a friend
    • Used a general search engine
    • Shared a link with a friend on Facebook
    • None of these
    • I did not shop in an online store in the past three months
  6. In the past three months, approximately how many of your purchases for each type of product were made ONLINE? (followed by 18 items that you can rate on a 5 point scale).
  7. In the NEXT three months, approximately how much money will you spend on each of the following types of products? (followed by 18 items + an open field; for each one you can choose a range of sums you are willing to spend).

Now, it is pretty clear that they are trying to think about new ways of implementing and marketing Beacon. I find it actually a clever and innovative way to start thinking about online marketing (not the use of survey, but the ideas behind this specific one). But there is still somewhat weird about it, especially if you take into account that they are now trying to repair the damaged relations with the users. If you (FB) are asking me to share my opinions in clear attempt to improve your business model (= make more money on me), don’t i deserve some compensation? The least you could do is showing me the results. Otherwise, why would I fill it out?

I view it as yet another expression of arrogance and greediness. On the one hand, FB hold their users as careless enough not to think why they are presented with this survey and just answer it because it is as cool to answer surveys as it is to send a virtual beer. On the other hand, the intention here is to actually feel the $15 billion evaluation with content, but why put money into it if we can just (ab)use our users? (at this point it becomes a cyclical argument :)

Or is there something else? Something that i am missing? Or a cultural gap that i am not managing to bridge?


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