It’s been more than two years in the making, but Zynga, the giant social-gaming company, has finally started running ads placed by Facebook.Inside Facebook first noticed that the social network’s targeted ads now appear on Zynga.com. They’re pretty much identical to the Sponsored Stories and other ad formats Facebook displays on its own site, and indeed, Facebook’s Help centre tells users that these are the “same ads you see on Facebook.com.”
In March 2010, after resolving a dispute over the cut Facebook would get from Zynga’s virtual-currency sales, the two companies signed a long-term agreement to cooperate.
In 2011, Zynga revealed details of the agreement in an amended S-1 filing, showing that Zynga and Facebook had agreed to share advertising revenues if Facebook sold ads on Zynga websites.
AllThingsD suggests that this might be the start of a Facebook-run ad network, similar to Google’s AdSense, in which Facebook would place ads on all kinds of third-party sites. That’s not exactly a new notion: As early as 2007, speculation was rife in Silicon Valley that Facebook would launch a third-party ad network. The real surprise is how cautious the move-fast-and-break-things hackers at Facebook have been about introducing one.
Even now, caution abides: It’s not a given that this effort will expand past Zynga, but given the preexisting agreement between the companies, Zynga’s a logical place to test.
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