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S.O.S. - The Case of the Disappearing Facebook Fan Page

Update #4 9/9/11: And we're back! Facebook finally contacted us to relay that they've found our missing page. Apparently Black Friday was too "generic" of a name. Thanks to all the fans that 'Like' our  Black Friday Page!

Update #3 11/6/10: after 10 months of pain and frustration, we've given up and started a new Black Friday page.

In short, Facebook seems to intentionally offer almost no support and if you do hear back you're treated with disregard, as though you're wasting their time, not as a profoundly disappointed user of their service. Here's the latest completely unsatisfactory reply: "I have reached out to a couple of people who would normally reply to me and have heard nothing back. I can’t make these changes myself so at this stage there is nothing more I can do." I expect that kind of buck-passing at a Chicago DMV, not an innovative technology company!

Update #2 1/14/10: we lost it again!

Update #1 11/23/09: we have regained access to our Black Friday Page! We still have not received ANY word from Facebook. We also do not have our old URL back.

If you have a contact at Facebook that can facilitate a solution please contact them or me (brad *at* bradsdeals). Thanks!

Imagine you had just launched a website, received over 3 Million visits in 3 weeks and had over 100,000 fans on your website's Facebook Fan Page and then POOF - the fan page is gone - moved to a different URL, your access is blocked, with Facebook offering no support and mistakenly redirecting your fans to a competitor's fan page.

It just happened to us.

Here's the background: we'd been having issues "authenticating" the Fan Page for the BlackFriday2009.com site that BradsDeals just launched. Apparently this is a standard process once you get above a certain number of fans. I personally submitted the form twice but we never got a response. You had to "authenticate" via one of three criteria.  One was "link to your facebook fan page from your domain" - we were already doing this.  Even though we were already meeting the criteria, had submitted the form, and despite Facebook stating we had 3 weeks to authenticate, we lost the page after 6 days.

We have 100k+ impassioned fans and with Black Friday in 4 days we look terrible since we've "gone silent" on the subject they most want to hear about!

This was our URL but we lost it. The now-lowercase URL was immediately claimed by a site called black-friday.net. Our old non-vanity URL is still live, however, but we can't access it.

Aside from regaining access (this should be the most active week of our year), there is a big reputational risk that I'm concerned about because there are likely users becoming fans at that URL because they still think it is the BradsDeals Black Friday site.

Here's an example of what we're hearing from people:

When I try to go to the BradsDeals Black Friday fan page on FB that I was initially a fan of, it takes me to the black-friday.net fan page.

Let me be more precise: when I log in to my facebook account and type "Black Friday" in the search box at the top right, your Black Friday logo pops up and when I select it and hit enter, it takes me to this page which is run by Black-Friday.net.

That's just crazy and makes Facebook and us look bad.

My impression is that the validation issues stem from running the blackfriday2009.com page with a bradsdeals.com email address.  A quick glance at even the BF2009 logo with the "powered by bradsdeals.com" would have revealed that the two are symbiotic.

The main issues are:

1) We need to regain the right to publish on our Black Friday Page
2) We need to regain our original URL
3) Facebook's own internal URL mapping is sending some of our fans to our old vanity URL and thus to a competitor's page.
4) Facebook's Fan Page "Authentication" is Broken
5) Facebook offers no obvious support for Fan Pages

About the Author: Brad Wilson

Brad is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Brad's Deals and Brad's Black Friday, as well as and author of Do More, Spend Less. He loves the game of hunting down the best deals and being able to spread the word to so many others. He is likely travel hacking his way around the world right now, trying to spend his millions of points and miles faster than he earns them!

7 Responses to “S.O.S. - The Case of the Disappearing Facebook Fan Page”

  1. Jes@sunhorse.com says:

    The same thing happened to our Fans.We lost over 1000 very loyal fans — we use to have 2000 plus fans. I am a small but growing business and this is our busiest Season and we need our fans back asap. I emailed Facebook but have not heard back from them. I have no idea where my fans went??? PLease help if you can.

  2. sandpiper says:

    We had a similar issue. Out of the blue one day out Facebook page along with 1,000+ happy customers disappeared.

    2 E Mails to Facebook later, and no response, or online support anywhere.

    We have since started again, but sadly it is our business which looks bad and suffers as a result, not Facebook.

    Also, we have since launched a third (separate) business page, and we are experiencing similar problems with it, with random posts missing, and historical posts past a certain date not appearing at all.

    Any help on this owuld be greatly appreciated. Some response from facebook with an explanation would also be refreshing.

  3. Proactive HS says:

    This is just crazily insane. What recourse does one truly have? What vindication has facebook got for doing this? Surely they must realize that they are seriously affecting somebody’s livelyhood? I can not believe they are so harsh!

  4. [...] the delay? Facebook lost our first Facebook page so all of the 125,000 of you who liked it already have to do it over again.  Thanks, [...]

  5. [...] many of you know, we’ve had a very difficult time with Facebook.   Our first Facebook page disappeared so all of the 125,000 of you who liked it already have to do it over again.  Thanks, [...]

  6. Teksquisite says:

    I consult with getcocoon.com and their fan page (stats were growing quickly) turned up missing late last Wednesday morning.
    I am not sure if it was because GetCocoon built a plugin that had an option to block Facebook tracking or if it was just a Facebook bug. Whatever the reason, Facebook only responded to one email that stated they would get back to us. They didn’t. Facebook is notorious for providing bad customer service. The advice I received was to hire a spendy PR firm with connections to Facebook – and I might get it back…

    I built a new fan page for GetCocoon this past weekend with contingency plans in the works including backup and the use of third-party apps like shortstacklab.com for navigation tabs (where the code and templates are stored on the shortstacklab servers.) I’m not taking any chance of Facebook screwing up on this new fan page.

    It is sad when you lose so many fans. I’m always hoping that a new social networking site will arrive that is highly competitive with Facebook that will provide great customer service too…

    I’m a little late to this post but since I do get your daily Bradsdeals alert – figured I’d stop in and say hello.

    Cheers!

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