Facebook Considers Building An Ad Network

As its been speculated, but never confirmed, Facebook is considering building an ad network on the back of Facebook Connect — but not for at least another six months, an advertising industry source who’s discussed the issue with Facebook tells us.

Facebook Connect is a service from the social network that allows Web users to sign into participating third-party sites using their Facebook accounts.

We’ve long speculated that, using all the demographic and behavioural information it keeps on its users, Facebook could easily turn the service into an ad network. At the very least, Facebook could sell publishers tools that help them better understand who their users are.

A separate advertising source who’s also spoken to Facebook says the company faces a deep backlog of new products it’s pushing out the door. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg complained to this source that the company doesn’t have enough engineers to go around. Facebook, which we’ve heard has been having trouble recruiting new talent, has about 900 employees. At the same age — five years old — Google had around 1,600.

Facebook better hurry-up and hire-up. Much smaller — but hotter — social network startup Twitter just released its own sign-in service last weekend. It’s called “Sign-in with Twitter.” Like Facebook Connect, it isn’t an ad network yet. But given how developer-friendly Twitter is, and its rate of user-growth, if its authentication service were to become an ad network before Facebook launched one, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network might suddenly see the cat-and-mouse game reversed.

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