Monday, February 4, 2008

Facebook: Please don't ban me!

First, a facebook confession: I am, or at least was, a facebook page squatter (see A VC's post about the subject). Curious about facebook's new (but poorly executed) offering, I decided to experiment and squat on numerous facebook pages that were close to my heart.

A little viral growth later (and with the help of some press), my Starbucks page (my then pride and joy) had amassed several hundred Facebook "fans". But before my pages reached compelling scale, I received warning after warning (three warnings, all told) and was stripped of my Starbucks, Amazon and eBay pages. I then quickly closed down my Coca-Cola, Stoli, Diet Dr. Pepper, Dell, JetBlue, Ikea and a bunch of other pages for fear of losing my Facebook profile.

Unfortunately, today, a close friend of mine who was also experimenting suffered exactly that fate.


Now, I really don't want to lose my facebook profile, but I'm left with one page: The Economist. With 1,761 fans, I'm adding about 60 per day. If you're curious, here's what my Insights page looks like:

So now, do I close it down? Strangely, Facebook just wipes these pages out of existence, leaving the fans in a lurch. Wish there was a way to transfer the ownership, but no one from the Economist has posted on the discussion board...

[Okay - last facebook post for a while. Promise!]

10 comments:

Harsh Shah said...

You're the wizard behind The Economist fan page!?
I was just showing my roommate how funny it was that the Economist (as an entity) responded to a Fan telling them that "There is no "technically" for what The Economist page should send fans."

Sarah Tavel said...

That's hysterical! Yes, I, err, was "representing" the Economist's interests.... !

speljamr said...

This should be a lesson to all of those companies as well. They shouldn't sit on the fence with new technologies. They should be out here making use of these opportunities when they first appear. Apparently they didn't learn from those early domain name registration years.

Jeremy said...

isnt this the whole point? a user endorsement is a far more powerful advertising concept than if the company itself had created that page.

Sarah Tavel said...

I agree and that's the idea behind Beacon. But for Facebook Pages, if a user creates the fan page (and therefore owns the administrative rights to that fan page), the company represented can only passively watch the fan page. Amongst other things, they can't encourage discussions or send updates to the fan base, and they don't get a demographic snapshot of their fans. But more importantly for facebook, they can't pay for targeted ads to encourage facebook users to engage with their fan page.

Jeremy said...

i think the ads are the endorsement. it is the same with widgets to an extent-- but you encounter some problems with that because switching costs are so low.

if this page were a group-- companies would not be able to moderate the discussion.

Sarah Tavel said...

Yes, wouldn't be able to moderate discussions, but would be able to seed discussions. More importantly, control the content of the page (check out http://www.facebook.com/nytimes for a great example of this), and communicate with their fans via facebook messaging.

Jeremy said...

thats really interesting. it would be more so if they could safely link your offline self to your online self.

natluszo said...

If you did create the page - please contact me [email protected] Oz

Sarah Tavel said...

Okay! The hand off is complete. The Economist officially has admin rights to The Economist's facebook page. And all is right with the world.