ACCORDING TO A POST at Google Buzz by Google's Matt Cutts, one of the largest advertisers on the Facebook social notworking website is a stinky Microsoft affliliate scam.
Cutts, who is head of Google's anti-spam team, was digging into a Facebook advertiser that goes by the name of Make-my-baby.com and found that it has murky roots in, or at least very strong ties to, Microsoft's Bing.
Cutts was responding to an article in Advertising Age that suggested Facebook was muscling in on Google's ad business. Facebook, it seems, is earning $1.86 billion in worldwide advertising revenues a year, which is big business in anyone's book.
Perhaps rankled by this, or just interested in its findings, he investigated the firm that is the third biggest advertiser on the website, and found that its apparent aim is to stop people from using homepages that aren't Microsoft's Bing.
"Visiting make-my-baby.com instantly prompts you to install a browser plugin," he wrote. "The 'terms and conditions' link takes you to http://mmb.bingstart.com/terms/ which has phrases like 'If Chrome ("CR") is installed on your PC we may change the default setting of your home page on CR to Bingstart.com.'"
Cutts suggested that people were installing the plug-in, which he added, hid the information about changing home pages in its small print.
"If make-my-baby.com is Facebook's 3rd biggest advertiser," he mused, "I wonder how many people are installing this software without reading the fine print that says 'Installing the toolbar includes managing the browser default search settings and setting your homepage to bing.com' ? Perhaps worse still, the toolbar looks particularly difficult to uninstall."
Make-my-baby.com, which sounds like a primal howl of UK urban teenagers, does not appear to be the only application that wants to change user browser preferences and home pages, and Cutts was able to find a handful more, including those offering IQ tests. Which is something that seems rather innapropriate to pitch at social notworkers.
Make-my-baby.com is in third place in the ad spend rankings at Facebook behind the similarly unknown firms AT&T and Match.com. µ
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