After seven years of concentrating on the cool, Facebook is finally ready to cash in. The social networking giant is starting to mine its immense database to match users to advertisers like never before, reports the LA Times. Facebook's ad revenue reportedly doubled last year to $2 billion, and insiders say it should double again in 2011. "If you take a look at the history of media, ad dollars go where the eyeballs are," said one analyst.
Facebook's last attempt at cashing in with ads based on user information in 2007, with Beacon, ended with a lawsuit by users and the service being pulled after less than two years. But with online advertising reaching $26 billion last year and continuing to grow, the stakes are high, especially as Facebook reportedly has its massive IPO looming. "Facebook users should be cautious about whether the social networking giant ultimately has their best interests at heart," said the executive director of an online rights group.