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Summary:

Okay kids if you remember LinkExchange, the web-banner ad swap service that was snapped up by Microsoft back in November 1998 for $250 million, and then left it to languish, raise your hand. Of course, that $250 million investment was recently shut down by Microsoft. LinkExchange […]

Okay kids if you remember LinkExchange, the web-banner ad swap service that was snapped up by Microsoft back in November 1998 for $250 million, and then left it to languish, raise your hand. Of course, that $250 million investment was recently shut down by Microsoft.

LinkExchange founders are doing pretty well. One of them, Ali Partovi is currently riding the Facebook rocket, thanks to his not-so-new company, iLike (formerly GarageBand), which is often held up as a shining example of The Facebook-effect.

While they were busy scrounging for server-oomph, others were trying to figure out how to make money from all these hot-little Facebook apps that have the entire Valley foaming at the mouth. 30 Boxes team – Narendra Rocherolle, Julie Davidson and Nick Wilder – have launched a new venture called, Fbexchange.

fbexchangesample.png

Rocherolle explains to us that it is an “in-app” ad network for the Facebook platform, and the system will allow f8 app owners easily exchange links in order to get more attention and traffic. They can also carve out some impressions for paid-placements instead of just plain vanilla ad-exchanges.

Fbexchange has already signed up apps ranging from Free Gifts to Slide which owns a bunch of Facebook apps including, Top Friends. It seems there is a demand for a service that promotes applications, and app-writers are ready to go to extreme lengths.

It was only yesterday I ranted about All-Facebook-All-The-Time madness that had gripped the valley, at a time when there weren’t any clear signs of the apps being able to make money. Hey with this link-swapping and some carefully planted ads, this is one idea that might work. That is if Facebook allows this network to stay alive and thrive.

  1. interesting business idea.

    altho people who think they need facebook app advertising probably aren’t making good use of the feed to do app event notification. (ditto for AdWords — SEM is a great business because people are so crappy at doing good SEO).

    but i guess there’s plenty of people who got rich selling shit to stupid advertisers… narendra might just have something going there ;)

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  2. Dave, good point… this is a great arbitrage opportunity.

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  3. First, thanks for making me feel old in the intro, Om.

    Great idea by the 30 Boxes team, but you hit the nail on the head. If Facebook goes the MySpace route (talk about a walled garden), then you can expect Facebook to block this. Let’s hope not.

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  4. If I was evil… « Scobleizer Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    [...] I was evil… I was just reading about 30 Boxes new Facebook ad swap service. That got me thinking. My Facebook profile is literally a [...]

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  5. Marketing Facebook Apps: All About the FEED, n00bs!

    I’ll try keep this short since i’m still new to the Facebook Platform, and i’m probably making several stupid statements / overlooking a bunch of obvious shit. i believe it was Mark Twain who once said: better to keep your mouth shut and appear a fo…

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  6. So far Narendra’s app seems to be pure link exchange. He’s not doing the nasty, commercial “selling of ads for cash to just about anyone.” I am doing exactly that, of course.

    Dave Cancel, compete.com co-founder, is the other half of it. Lookery, an ad network just for Facebook app publishers, is selling now and will be live in a week or so.

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  7. It’s not a terrible idea, but as you said, its ultimate fate will rest in the hands of Facebook and whether or not they deem it worthy of termination.

    http://mikeelliottsblog.wordpress.com

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  8. Om,
    I think I see FaceBook 2.0 evolving, which is nothing but MySpace with more garbage. As soon as you introduce add-ons, links, ads etc the whole eco system dies slowly. That’s pretty much what happens everytime someone decides they need to make some dough. Thats the difference between Craigslist and others (just the business model)

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  9. I wonder what will happen as FB opens the gates to commercial pursuits…the track record for its predecessors (failed portals, mostly) and competitors (like myspace) is not good. I just wrote about this challenge at Dim Bulb, http://dimbulb.typepad.com, and would be curious to know your thoughts.

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