facebook –– is a social (media) phenomenon.  2010 advertising revenues topped 1.86 Billion! While it may have taken its sweet time figuring out how to monetize itself, it’s finally done so with a vengence.  And that should continue in 2011.

Soon, you’ll be seeing a new kind of advertising on facebook –– the Sponsored Ad’:

This is a development you’ll want to be aware of; perhaps ‘BEWARE’ of it is more accurate!

How It Works: whenever you ‘like’ or ‘check-in’ with a business that is using this sponsored ad model, not only will your action be posted to your news feed but, at the same time, it will be used as a ‘paid advertisement’ by the advertiser — in this example, Starbucks.

Here’s The Problem: You can’t ‘opt-out’ of having your behavior (and, photo!) used as a commercial ‘word-of-mouth’ promotion and implied endorsement for a facebook advertiser!

The fact is that facebook intends to use your image and endorsement without your permission and without compensation.  Personally, that doesn’t feel right.  I’d like to give my permission to use my behavior and photograph in a commercial message disguised as a ‘word-of-mouth’ endorsement.  But wait . . . I’m not paying facebook a penny to use it, am I?  Well, there you go.

In business, you get what you pay for.  And if you don’t pay for something directly, you will pay for it in other ways.

Advertising revenue is a significant and powerful driver for facebook.  Just make sure you know if, how and when you’re helping to create that revenue!