Ding Dong! Beacon is Dead!

It looks like the lawsuit against Facebook over its Beacon advertising system has settled. Facebook is paying $9.5 million and disabling all Beacon functionality. Two years ago December, I wrote, “Class action lawyers, start your engines.,” and they did.

The CNet news story linked above makes a very nice point. Beacon doesn’t matter very much to Facebook any more; it’s since been replaced by other programs like Facebook Connect. But those other programs are also more successful than Beacon because they’re more user-empowering. They’re also better on privacy because, being user-directed, they also have a more natural, easier-to-envision, flow of information than Beacon’s surreptitious behind-the-scenes linkage. Take note! Realistic privacy, user empowerment, and success are linked.