This past summer, we heard that Facebook was conducting tests to put ads for games in your notifications – and it appears that the tests went accordingly and the feature is now being rolled out.
A Facebook friend of mine saw this show up in his notifications yesterday. While it’s possible that this is yet another phase of testing, the initial round was back in July, so this could be the real deal.
Notifications has remained one of the more utilitarian aspects of Facebook. You stop in, see what’s up, turn off updates for conversations you know longer care about, and go on your merry way. It’s also one of the last places within the site that’s ad-free. You News Feed was inundated with the stuff long ago, the sidebar was claimed even before that, promoted posts mean anyone can be an advertiser, and as social spam continues to wildly increase, messages and posts are even peppered with (possibly malware-laden) ads.
Going through your notifications used to be like this: “Mom liked my photo … roommate posted hilarious meme … roommate’s boyfriend posted mildly funny meme … oh no, friend from college definitely said something racist on my status update …”
And now you can add this to the mix: “Wait – what? Who is Shipwrecked?”
Thus it may be time to prepare yourselves for the occasional Facebook game ad in your notifications (this all makes sense, too, given how Facebook is strengthening ties with developers). Today, it’s only Facebook sponsored games. Tomorrow … it’s Facebook sponsored everything else? Maybe.
We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment on whether this is part of testing or an initial rollout; we’ll update the space with a response.