Why the future face of online advertising is …. your face

Well, not just your face. Your face, your words, your +1’s and shares. An update to Google’s terms of service last Friday highlighted that as of November 11th, whenever you endorse a business via Google+, you will be allowing Google to feature that info in their ads. Needless to say that as on any occasion that Google edit so much as a typo in their terms of service, the backlash has been instant, resounding and, in my opinion, completely groundless.

Personally I just don’t see the issue. When you write a review you are placing that in the public domain and I’m not sure why you would then object to it being used to promote the brand that you yourself were trying to promote. I’m usually the first to question Google’s motives but in this instance I think they’re right. It’s helpful to the user and should give those businesses with a great online reputation a well-earned advantage.

It should be said that Facebook faced a $20m settlement in August for their similar “shared endorsement” scheme, but the changes to the Google terms of service have been disclosed much more publicly so I don’t anticipate similar claims being successful. If the very thought of being featured in one of their ads makes you shudder with rage, you can opt out of the scheme by adjusting your settings.

Whatever fuss the privacy police kick up, I really feel they are holding back the tide. You are far more likely to trust the endorsement of a friend than a stranger and it’s one more reason (if they needed it) why brands need to be taking every opportunity to promote positive social activity around their products and services.