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New e-mail, new message tools spell more ad opportunities

By Cecilia Kang

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Monday that it is offering e-mail addresses as part of a new suite of communications tools that the company will use to keep users on the site longer and serve up tailored advertising.

The social networking behemoth, which has been dogged by privacy concerns, said its new communications system combines e-mail, texts and instant messages and will allow users to track the history of conversations and filter their message box for the most relevant conversations.

Even though Zuckerberg said it isn't an "e-mail killer," users will be able to get e-mail addresses that analysts say will keep users engaged longer on the social network site for 500 million users around the globe. It will also make it easier for users to communicate through Facebook, as a center for all one-on-one conversations. Microsoft's Hotmail has 361 million users worldwide, and Yahoo has 273 million and Google's Gmail has 193 million users.

The new messaging system is intended to look more like a online chat than e-mail, which Zuckerberg called "slow" and "too formal." The new e-mail function will be rolled out in the next few months by invitation.

When asked about how the company will use information contained in messages, e-mails and SMS, Zuckerberg said it will use that data the same way it does for other parts of the site: to serve up ads.

"The space on the right (for ads), we will try to make as relevant as possible," Zuckerberg said, when asked what the company will do with the content of e-mail and instant messages that are part of the system. "If you put in (your e-mail) that you like Green Day, we will put in an ad for concert tickets."

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Facebook ranks first in display ads.

By Cecilia Kang  | November 15, 2010; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  FTC, Facebook  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hmmmm: Apple to make iTunes announcement Tues
Next: Pegoraro on Facebook's universal messaging system

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