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Feb 3 2009   2:09PM GMT

Overheard – Facebook finds a business model?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Facebook intends to capitalize on the wealth of information it has about its users by offering its 150 million-strong customer base to corporations as a market research tool.

Richard Wray, Facebook aims to market its user data bank to businesses

Could it be that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has finally found a way to monetize social networking? If you believe Richard Wray, it just might be a GENIUS way to monetize the site.  That is, if members don’t cry “Privacy!” like they did with the site’s last attempt to make some money, Beacon.

The magic word is…polls.

Now mind you, polling at Facebook is nothing new. What’s new is the perfect storm that surrounds Facebook — the site’s expanding demographics,  demonstrated audience engagement — and a tanking economy where marketers have less money to throw at more traditional focus groups.

This might be exactly the right time for Facebook to push out self-service polls and make them them the basis for monetizing the site, much as Google figured out how to monetize search back in October of 2000 with self-service AdSense ads.

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