Facebook buy sparks ad speculation

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The $240 million purchase, by Microsoft, of a 1.6% equity stake in Facebook, has drawn attention to the social media giant's advertising intentions. The technology company is now the exclusive third-party ad platform partner for the Web site.

Facebook is looking to use this information for targeted advertising both on and off the site, according to ad industry executives.

While Facebook will not discuss the details of this move, industry executives expect Facebook to unveil its plan at its November 6 meeting that will be led by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook executive team. On September 24, Facebook trademarked the term SocialAds.

Not everyone in the industry thinks a Facebook ad offering will be so novel.

"I don't think that it's anything new in general," said Joe Apprendi, CEO at behavioral targeting firm Collective Media. "Obviously Facebook has a huge database wand with its registration data and profile data, but this is nothing that Yahoo or MSN hasn't done before." He added that the potential lies in Facebook mixing this information with other online information.

Facebook users create profiles that include information about their age, location, job, school and taste in music and movies, among other things.

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