Aug. 23, 2012 at 1:18 PM ET
You see them on Twitter. You get them on Google. And now, advertisements are in your Facebook search results.
And that's in addition to the "Hot Singles in your Area" and David's Bridal ads you're already getting on the right side of your Facebook profile.
On Wednesday, Facebook officially launched its Sponsored Results advertising tools to third parties. The service, which has been in beta testing for months, "is a great way for you to drive more awareness of your app, page or place," the social network announced on its Developer's Blog. Sponsored searches allow marketers to attach ads to the various keywords you search for on the social network, so that their ads show up with your results.
Try a Facebook search for "Vegas," for example, and the "Sponsored" ad for Facebook game "Lucky Slots" comes back as the top result, followed by unsponsored apps, places and pages on Facebook. A search for "Games" returns the "Sponsored" Facebook game BINGO Blitz.
Search for Taylor Swift — as Tina Moore, this one lady I know from Facebook did — and oddly enough, you get a "Sponsored" result for Match.com. "I guess that means she's single," Tina speculates. Really, it probably means Match.com bought the search term "Taylor Swift" ... though that girl does have a lot of romantic troubles.
If this seems familiar to you, it's the same sort of ad algorithm that made Google its advertising mint. The difference here is, if you click the link on Facebook, it won't take you out of the social network's gated community — at least for now. Instead, you'll be directed to the company or product's home on Facebook. For example, click the "Sponsored" ad for Match.com, and you''ll find yourself on Match.com's Facebook page, not the online dating website itself.
The "Sponsored" results are fairly unobtrusive in their current form, and clearly labeled as advertisements. That's important. Nobody's tricking you into you click on them.
If you're wondering why even more advertisements are necessary on Facebook, with or without its plummeting IPO, remember the words of Sen. Al Franken in his speech to the American Bar Association's Antitrust Section earlier this year. When it comes to Facebook, and Google too, those "free" services that make a crazy amount of money from the personal info you so willingly supply, "you are not their client, you are their product."