I received an email from Anupam about a week ago claiming that he was seeing ads within Orkut. I first doubted this, since Google does not advertise within Orkut (with the Joga companion being the exception).
My first suspicion was that these ads were being displayed via a GreaseMonkey or Firefox hack, (something Google would not enjoy) but after disabling these hacks, the Anupam sent me some screen shots of what he saw.
Apparently these appear to be Google ads although Anupam is the only one (to my knowledge) able to see this. He has also checked with several other friends and none of them are seeing any ads either.
Although some may not like viewing ads within the forums, to me this represents good news because it means that:
- We will see less donut errors.
- Orkut may open up to the rest of the world
- Orkut could incorporate Picasa and Google Video (and perhaps Blogger) within (similar to what Joga has).
I'd be willing to put up with a few ads in order to reap more features for Orkut. After all, MySpace has a lot of annoying ads, and yet people keep going back and logging in.
After all, Google is probably losing millions of dollars by not running ads, and I am sure there are many businesses (especially in the entertainment and fashion world) who would love to market to the Orkut community.
Update: I contacted Phil over at Google Blogoscoped and he confirmed that people have reported the same thing to him as well.