Facebook's Pre-IPO Rush to Make Money Off of You

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Trying to raise bunches of money from investors for its upcoming initial public offering, Facebook's trying to prove it can make money off of all that social networking we do. There's no question lots of people use Facebook. But how exactly Facebook is monetizing those "engaged" users, many of which never visit Facebook.com, is still questionable. Now's the time for Facebook to show what kind of value is behind those walls. And it sure is trying. 

Timeline and Open Graph. We already knew Facebook was making money off of its new Timeline design. But starting this week, the social network will now integrate advertising into its Open Graph verbiage, "listen," "read," and "watch," reports TechCrunch's John Constine. "Facebook is allowing advertisers to pay for more exposure of listen, read, or watch stories that mention them by turning the stories into a new form of Sponsored Story social ads," he writes. Basically, companies can now sponsor news feed postings, which accompany said actions. Should look something like the mock-up via TechCrunch. Before, companies could sponsor likes, now they can also sponsor listens. Just in the pilot phase, a Facebook spokesperson told Constine if it goes well the company plans on expanding it to a full-blown money-making machine. 

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New Facebook Photo Viewer. What at first looked like a much prettier way to look at photos has turned into a way for Facebook to pimp space to advertisers. Compared to the old photo viewing experience, the new, wider pictures (below) shove sponsored stories right beneath all those witty Facebook comments and likes, discovered AllThingsD's Peter Kafka. "I look at Facebook a lot, and I didn’t even realize that Facebook had been showing me ads when I clicked on photos. Now I can’t avoid them," he said. It's true. The ads come just as we've finished scanning our friend's notes. A much more prominent position for Web readers, who tend to scan pages from top to bottom, blog-style. 

Mobile Advertising. Lots of Facebooking happens on iPhones and the like, with over half of Facebook's 845 million users logging in via smartphone apps. As of now, Facebook doesn't have ads in that newsfeed, unlike its browser version. Facebook's planning to change that, with "featured stories," probably using location based data to target those social networkers. Get ready for ads everywhere. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.