Facebook quietly added the ability for users to vote up or down on ads last night. Facebook watcher Nick O'Neill points out that the site has recently gotten rid of the same voting feature that was in the Newsfeed for a short period of time. Will this work for ads?

Initially we thought this would be an ineffective effort, but the more we looked at terrible ads on Facebook and thought about how happy we'd be to vote them down - the more sense it made.

Startup founder Rob Webb blogged about the feature first and saw the most complex version we've seen reported yet. (Image below) In our own experience the voting interface is a little bit flakey right now.

On Brand Advertising

There are of course a wide variety of ads in the world and on Facebook in particular. Charlene Li reported an unusually high success rate for her "Facebook Flyer" test ad in October, but that was a call to action that some portion of her audience had a more vested interest in than we do in most Facebook ads.

Brand ads are intended to build brand association with audiences and in those cases voting from audiences could make sense. Do you like seeing ads from this known brand or that one in your social networking site? That makes sense, as the primary intention behind such ads isn't click through - it's just awareness.

Crap Control

The majority of ads we see on Facebook's sidebar "social ads" section aren't brand ads though. They are crap. They are personal ads, debt relief services and other things most of us could care less about.

The more we think about it, the better the opportunity to vote down such ads sounds. We can't help but wonder how many Facebook users would pay a small fee to remove ads all-together from the site.

Facebook has done something similar with applications, allowing apps that get installed more often to have more access to the Newsfeed. The company is clearly experimenting with both using both implicit and explicit gestures to determine quality on the site.

That sounds smart.

Voting may not have worked well in the Newsfeed, but that could be because the visual prompt to vote was too intrusive. Offering one place to vote, just on ads in the sidebar, should be less annoying to users.

We're not seeing options this extensive yet, what are you seeing when you vote on the ads in the Facebook sidebar?