Facebook to Start Competing Directly with Popular Apps?

Facebook is announcing new ad products on Tuesday and VentureBeat has learned some details about them.

In a project code-named Pandemic, Facebook will remove the somewhat popular “sponsored groups” that advertisers can buy on the site. Instead, it will introduce pages that advertisers can buy, and which can include interactive games or other applications of the advertisers’ choosing. Pending the outcome of an internal debate within Facebook, these pages may include a number of vertical categories, such as movies, music, restaurants, travel, nonprofits, and others.

Facebook has already developed applications for these categories, that we understand to compete directly with many successful third party applications on Facebook already in these categories. Instead of using Flixster to rate movies or iLike to play music games, you may soon find yourself playing Facebook’s version of these applications — then finding yourself getting directed to relevant advertisers’ pages. Actions users take on these pages will appear within friends’ news feeds — if the advertiser that purchases the page is willing to pay an extra fee. These pages will also have their own URLs, such as http://www.facebook.com/venturebeat, and will be searchable on the web.

What it means: it will be interesting to see if Facebook chooses to compete directly with some of the most popular applications. Beginning of August, I blogged about the trust factor behind the Facebook platform and asked “is Facebook a platform or a media company?”. They might have chosen to become a media company.

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