Critic: Facebook's Graph Search 'Useless', Based on 'Fake' Likes

By Nicholas Carlson
Facebook (FB) unveiled a new search engine this week called Graph Search.

Some think it might help the company eventually steal search advertising dollars from Google (GOOG).

But in a damning blog post, entrepreneur and engineer Steve Cheney argues that Graph Search will be basically useless.

He says it's as useful as "me yelling across an auditorium for which doctor I should see for my cough."

He says the whole thing is based on a "con."

Cheney says much of the structured data in the database Graph Search searches is "totally irrelevant and dirty."

By "dirty," Cheney doesn't mean tawdry. He means the data is "out of date" and inaccurate. The problem, in Cheney's view, is that the data is informed by Facebook "likes."

He has a very low opinion of "likes." He says that at least half of them on Facebook were bought by advertisers.

In the brand advertiser world CPMs have been the preferred measurement (people aren't going to click an ad for Coke (KO); instead its purpose is to influence you). For the past several years big advertisers on FB have actually been directing massive amounts of paid media to acquire fans. They quite literally bought likes.

Why? Early on FB made the case to brands that they must have fans... together with the ad agencies they convinced the Cokes of the world to spend money to be competitive (hey Pepsi (PEP) is here too). Then, FB promised, something miraculous would happen. Your friends would see in their news feed you liked Coke!

So... FB convinced big advertisers to spend huge sums on CPA-like ad units whose sole purpose was to acquire fans. Ad agencies dedicated creative, planning and strategy resources to get the Cokes and American Expresses (AXP) of the world to pay to have users click-almost 100% of the time because the user was promised some sweep stake or contest.

Recall back to all the past campaigns you've ignored where you could "like to enter" or "like to qualify". They are literally everywhere and are always tied to fan acquisition.

The numbers are shocking in magnitude: e.g. over the past several years AmEx actually spent about half of its ad spend on buying likes-tens of millions of dollars. Your friends didn't just go to the American Express fan page and "like" the company for no apparent reason. They did so because they got something.

Across the board big advertisers were told to spend 50% of their ad buy solely on fan acquisition. This is a dirty little secret in ad agency land. Trust me. I've seen it firsthand from the marketer, advertiser and agency side.

In the end, Cheney's argument boils down to this: A Facebook "Like" isn't always what the team that build Graph Search thinks it is – a signal that a user actually has affinity for the object it's connected to.

Sometimes it means that. But only about half the time.

The rest of the time...who knows.

So why would a search engine built on signal that is accurate 50% of the time be any good?
Cheney thinks it won't be.

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Every "improvement" that Facebook makes is just a weak attempt to find out more info about you, and then use that info to try and extract money from you..

January 19 2013 at 4:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really dont care if your a prepper and how much food you have stored in a hole or your basement baried you and your family in the ground in some container with the comforts of home it does not matter. You need to be born again in the blood of Jeaus, Reed your bible and what it says there will be know place to hide, and that mean's know place. If you dont belive the son of man died on the cross for your sins, And rose from the grave 3 days after to pay for our sins. And belive he will return and satan will first proclaim he is God and do miricles there will be one goverment, Have to take the number of the beast to buy, Or sell trade, But i dont know if you would say Iam not going to take this by not taking a number and being but to death you would go to Heaven or not you take the chance. Just go to a good Bible chruch, Not cathlic you will get nothing out of it you wil not find the true redeemer their, Do you remember your Babtizing their, Why do you need to tell a priest your sins when all you need is a one on one relationship with that choosen one who died for your sins, The preiest certainly has not and will never. Our redeemer has and is not on the croos anymore, Mary is not the queen of heaven, in fact Mary the mother of Jeaus is only mentioned in the Bible 4 or 5 times. In fact Jeaus called her women. So run and try to hide there is no place, Exceprt in blood that he freely gave up for you and I to have eternal life with him.
Kurt Arnold

Brother in Crist and you can be to freeley

January 19 2013 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to basement's comment

I see your spell checker is not working...

January 19 2013 at 4:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I could never figure out with all its security issues why facebook never died as it should have. Myspace died because of spammers, Facebook has that and plundering people's private info for its own financial gain. Myspace died for far less. What sustains facebook now are people's sense of self-importance and vanity. And there are a lot of idiots out there who are completely immersed in themselves. I guess people don't mind being jerked around by facebook, every three months there always seems to be some type of major problem, either security or technical. Facebook tries to re-vamp it's look every couple of months to compensate for all their shortcomings. It appears to be working. Facebook will not die for awhile due to the fact its logo is spread like feces on every website. Why people enjoy getting pushed around like prize chumps and take it from facebook is beyond me. Facebook is nothing more than a weapon for bullies to use. Everyone complains about how bullying is now a major problem. Ever notice the spike in bullying coincides with the spike in popularity of facebook?
Mark Zuckerberg is a slippery worm who has parlayed the stupidity of people into a fortune. During one interview he was sweating like a pig when asked to address the security issues that plague facebook. He's as honest as a three-card monty dealer. He's got a whole line of suckers lined up.

January 18 2013 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really don't like Facebook mainly because it doesn't ask what you want to display and as such puts everything out there for everyone to see..It's not secure and even though I do enjoy the posts I don't feel it's going anywhere and may die out the way Myspace did...

January 18 2013 at 7:27 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Go watch The Social Network again before buying into Facebook.

January 18 2013 at 7:00 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Somebody needs to take this phony little overly-rich punk for a short ride over a cliff.

January 18 2013 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

here they go again. Well how else do you think they gonna raise all that money they lost after the initial public offering showed insider trading, fraud, etc to boost prices and then screw the common person over again just as Wall Street and corporate businesses continue to do all day. Of course it will be over hyped and touted as remarkable. But seriously people, what is the importance of facebook? you post you life online for everyone to see, who your friends are, etc? Get a life, donate your time at a shelter, build a house for humanity, quite thinking about yourself and you you you..... geez make your very own webpage or televesion reality show then. Facebook? what a joke and invasion of your FRIENDS privacy... LOL

January 18 2013 at 6:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


January 18 2013 at 5:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Wow, how crazy is this ldea.SO GOOD BYE SB.

January 18 2013 at 5:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

One word:

January 18 2013 at 5:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply