Facebook Drops the Hammer on Small Biz Users

Filed in Featured, Social Media by Matt McGee on May 20, 2010 11 Comments

facebook logoFacebook giveth, and now Facebook taketh away. Facebook’s “Pages” — formerly called “Fan Pages” — are the primary way for a small business owner to have a presence on Facebook. And one of the most common marketing tips about Facebook Pages is to create a custom landing tab. But Facebook has pulled that rug out from under small business owners. Custom landing pages are now a no-no.

Earlier this month, Tamar Weinberg wrote a great article about marketing on Facebook, and included the suggestion to create custom landing tabs. One of her examples is a printing company called rushIMPRINT, whose Facebook page is already using a custom landing page:


Looks nice, but that’s now forbidden, except for a very limited portion of the small business community. All Facebook explains that Pages must now be “authenticated” in order to have a custom landing tab:

This means any new visitor to your Facebook Page will not be able to land on a custom tab unless you have greater than 10,000 fans or the Page administrator has worked with an ads account representative. This is a massive blow to smaller companies (or individuals) looking to build their presence through Facebook Pages.

Ouch. If you read the comments on that All Facebook post, there are a lot of people who don’t like this move — and some are wondering if this, coupled with Facebook’s ongoing privacy problems, are the beginning of the end for Facebook as a whole.

UPDATE: As Claire points out in the first comment below, All Facebook has a new blog post that suggests Facebook might be changing its mind on this announcement. But nothing’s confirmed yet. Let’s hope they do.

Comments (11)

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  1. Yes, I’m working with some SMB clients to create their custom landing pages and then BOSH – you can’t have one! I just read that facebook has backed down on the landing page limitations – not sure if this is the case…

  2. Julie Kosbab says:

    This relates to the reason I always object to people who tell SMBs that it’s ok to have a Facebook page or a Yelp page or a subdomain on WordPress be their website when starting out.

    You need to have your main presence be on your own domain. You control that. When you rely on other platforms, they can muck you up without warning. If you at least have your own domain (which can be on wordpress.com or blogger, I don’t care), you have options.

  3. Wynne says:

    @Julie – good point. Always make building content on your own domain the first priority. Then build on other platforms to strengthen. This type of rug-pulling-from-under-feet is not new and happens from time to time.

  4. Tom says:

    There were some Facebook worms spreading through this technique, one claimed if you pasted an address into your address bar and hit go, you’d learn a secret about Barack Obama, and in reality, it just spammed all your friends to fan that page and some other stuff.

    This 10,000 minimum is kinda high, but worms spread fast, and something had to be done.

  5. Wow, perhaps this is the fastest backtrack ever by facebook? I guess they’re not having a very good couple of weeks 😉

    Matt Trainer from facebook apologizes for the ‘inonvenience’ and reneges on the decision:

  6. Mike says:

    Many were confused thinking that they did away with the FBML tabs completey, instead they just could not be the landing page and were still accessible after going to the wall. I understand the first impressions matters and this is a problem. Facebook did undo their policy, but are still struggling with many scammy/spammy fan pages so we will likely see another kind of limitation or rule go in effect soon.

  7. TJ McCue says:

    The point is that you can’t depend on Facebook to be consistent at this time. That’s a big problem. It is worth using, but not in an exclusive way. You have to build outside the walled garden. There’s a reason that AOL and Compuserve slowly lost presence (they too were walled gardens) — they lost track of how to take care of the customer and there are a lot of small biz customers. FB is a tool, don’t treat it as the only tool. Keep building your blog, your flickr, your linkedin, your twitter, your slideshare… Don’t be lulled into thinking that the web IS Facebook. It isn’t. Your small business success depends on leveraging every tool you can and following advice that comes from Matt and his team!

  8. TJ McCue says:

    @Tom — you raise a good point. They just could have thought for a few minutes more and spared themselves all the trouble.

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