By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 9:36 am
[UPDATE: Facebook says Ad Age had it wrong and Make-My-Baby.com wasn’t a Facebook advertiser at all.]
Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb has a post this morning that left me with a chilling sense of deja vu. It’s about a Facebook advertiser named Make-My-Baby.com–according to an Advertising Age story, Facebook’s third-largest advertiser–which has a silly little site that lets you dress up a baby. The site requires you to install a browser plug-in; the plug-in changes your home page and search engine to Bing. From then on, Microsoft gives the Make-My-Baby people a bounty when you click on a search ad in Bing. (Kirkpatrick is reporting on discoveries made by Google’s Matt Cutts.)
It’s all eerily reminiscent of ugly practices of the early-to-mid-2000s in which advertising companies and their partners used a number of practices to install software that pelted PC users with pop-ups and otherwise fouled up their computers. Here’s a 2005 story we did at PC World on the topic.
For the most part, the companies involved in the earlier round of cheesy PC invasions got what was coming to them. The PCW story discusses DirectRevenue, 180Solutions, and WhenU; the first two companies are out of business, and WhenU’s site now leads to information on how to uninstall its software. I wonder how Facebook and Bing will handle the news of this business partner’s behavior?