Facebook Bans User’s Google+ Ad, Competition Heats Up

Facebook has banned all of an app developer’s advertising after he posted an ad seeking connections for his new Google+ page, suggesting the competition may be starting to heat up between the two social networks.

The ad called for people “lucky enough to have a Google+ account” to add Michael Lee Johnson, a self-described “Internet geek, app developer (and) technological virtuoso” to their Google+ circles, or groups of followers. The posting was reportedly written to attract people from Facebook to his page on Google’s new social networking site.

The ad was up only a few days before Facebook not only ordered it taken down, but suspended the rest of Johnson’s advertising from its site. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based social networking giant told Johnson the Google+ advertisement had violated its terms of service, and “all of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances.”

Johnson’s Facebook advertising has stopped, but the controversy about the decision hasn’t. As of Monday morning, his Google+ page shows nearly 1,500 people have added him to their circles, suggesting the publicity from his aborted ad campaign may be paying off.

While Facebook hasn’t yet commented publicly about its decision to remove Johnson’s ads from the website, by doing so, the company may be sending the message that it’s taking the rising growth of Google+ seriously.

More than 10 million people initially rushed to sign up for Google+, prompting the Mountain View, Calif.-based company to shut down its invitations temporarily in order to ensure its capabilities were up to speed. Over this past weekend, however, current members were once again able to invite people.

Google+ is growing rapidly, but the newest social network still has some way to go before it reaches Facebook’s success. Facebook, the largest social networking site in the world, may grow past 750 million members this summer.

The real test of any site isn’t only in the number of members on its rolls, but the advertising it is able to sell. Currently, Facebook is the top seller of display ads in the United States, beating out both Google and Yahoo. If Google+ continues to see its numbers grow, its advertising clout will grow as well, and nay siphon some advertising dollars away from Facebook.

Facebook has reigned as a social networking giant for some time, particularly after users began leaving the once-powerful MySpace. However, the buzz about Google+, along with backing from the powerful Google network of websites, may mean there is some real competition brewing.

This post originally appeared at Mobiledia.

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