Facebook To Crack Down on Sponsored Status Updates

Filed as News on August 12, 2009 9:26 pm

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FacebookFacebook has decided to keep its platform clean from advertisements ran by its users in a proposed update to the Statements of Rights and Responsibilities Site Governance.

2. You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain (such as selling your status update to an advertiser).

Facebook users have time to leave feedback on the proposed changes until 18th August 10.00PDT.

This is a bold move in a fight against the the Pay Per model, better known from Izea (Formerly PayPerPost), who recently launched Sponsored Tweets.

At the same time Facebook announced that they can block the right to publish page updates to the newsfeed, killing the concept of generic pages.

When you publish content or information to your Page we have no obligation to distribute your content or information to users.

When the Facebook redesign was launched one of the main features was the new power which was given to pages and it should have come as no surprise that companies but also marketers would play with these. I have found the new pages to be a great social tool and potentially a vertical business. It did not take long before new companies such as Status Plug launched and offered sponsored status updates for page owners. Status Plug which listed several page with more than 1m fans at premium rates, such as Laughing when someone fails (minimum offer $390), pulled the plug today after the new policy for pages.

Status Plug Unplugged

Although I can understand that Facebook doesn’t want users to earn money from the platform I think they are missing out on a major stream of income here, just like Twitter does. With the size of both platforms each could easily set up their own ads market place and cash in all while making the users happy. The argument here is simple: it are the users who contribute to the popularity of the platform and certainly deserve some credit. No one else can better implement and control a maintained disclosure policy than the platform development team.
For Facebook at the same time it would be a great opportunity to show that they know how to implement advertising, while using the users name, without creating havoc, because I for one am still waiting for the first pundit to shout: ‘Facebook, DO evil’ as new motto for the Palo Alto company.

Of course you can always become a fan of Google Adsense on Facebook.

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  1. By Nancy Nally posted on August 12, 2009 at 11:08 pm
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    The wording of that proposed change at Facebook is very broad. What constitutes “commercial gain”? It could easily be interpreted if Facebook decides it wants to do so to mean that simply posting a link to your blog is a violation if that blog is a commercially run site. As a professional blogger, that concerns me.

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  2. By Franky B posted on August 13, 2009 at 12:06 am
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    Nancy, agreed. It’s typical legal wording leaving every option open for Facebook. I am no lawyer or anything but if you wanted to post a link to a commercially run blog I would say you need to set up a page for this to be completely compliant.
    Then you can share the link posted on the page on your own profile.

    If I quickly try to think like Zuckerberg/Facebook: your profile and news feed are for your friends, pages are for ‘fans’. And it seems that FB might revert the design decision made this Spring and isolate pages again.

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  3. By Nancy Nally posted on August 13, 2009 at 12:17 am
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    If they did that it would drastically cut back my Facebook activity. Currently I have my Twitter posts also cross-post to my Facebook profile. Some of those posts are links to my blog posts, reminders about my weekly live podcast taping, etc. If it became a violation of terms of service for me to post those items on my Facebook profile, I would have to disconnect that auto-posting. I don’t have time to update both services separately.

    Sorry Facebook, but Twitter wins if they aren’t going to prevent me from keeping people in the loop on my professional activities on my personal profile. I will decide what is appropriate business activity for my profile, not you. In the industry that I work in (scrapbooking) fan pages are almost completely useless as marketing tools because of a consumer culture in that market that says you aren’t allowed to look like you are trying to market yourself.

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  4. By Franky B posted on August 13, 2009 at 12:21 am
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    Nancy, you might want to look in to Selective Twitter App for Facebook. It allows to only add certain tweets to your Facebook Status and also supports pages.
    But FB has not made a clear statement on this. I hardly use my own profile anymore to push links out and have found pages brilliant. My opinion could change soon though.

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  5. By Nancy Nally posted on August 13, 2009 at 12:28 am
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    Thanks for the tip on the app. Looks interesting and I am going to consider it.

    I do have a Facebook page in the design stage for my website but like I said, in the scrapbook market there can be severe consumer backlash for using fan pages as an individual. So I haven’t launched it and don’t think that if I do that it will be nearly as useful as my personal profile for marketing.

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  6. By wayangtimes posted on August 13, 2009 at 9:57 pm
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    oh thanks for sharing. i didn’t know there’s such a thing as a sponsored status update.

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