Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Very Special Thank You to the "Web Success Team" for getting my Facebook story out... Banned by Facebook! One Woman's Story.

Banned by Facebook! One Woman's Story.
By Eric Pangburn, Contributor, Web Success Team


While the social media marketing site Facebook may be something you are intimately familiar with and use on a daily basis, the name “Marci Rosenblum” may not exactly ring a bell. So who is Marci Rosenblum and why should you know about her? As it turns out, Marci was banned from Facebook — a situation that we may all face at some point or another — and what she learned during her experience may have significant implications on your Facebook habits, as well as your overall online marketing experience.

We Depend on Facebook, Until…

Facebook is of course almost as ubiquitous on the Internet today as Google is. It is certainly more popular than the other large social networking site (which we won’t mention by name since the MySpace team may still be feeling a slight sting at having been overtaken just last January). Facebook marketing has simply captured the imagination of the collective cyberspace public in ways that few Internet phenomena have before and probably will for a while. It is a great way to build your business online and can therefore be potentially invaluable to your web success.


Most people start out by using Facebook as a means to keep in touch with friends and family. Facebook makes it easy to post pictures, chat with acquaintances, send them personal messages, join in on group discussions and quizzes…the list is virtually endless, and if there is some way that you can reach out to someone and be reached back in return, there is probably a way to do that in Facebook.


Many enterprising individuals have since used Facebook as a means to touch base with their customers. There is no Facebook rule that disallows this, and Facebook has proven to be quite a potent tool for any business. The same benefits that Facebook affords you for personal use can be wielded to great results for your business, online or otherwise.


So far so good. But just like any other privately owned web site, there are a number of rules and regulations implemented that may not always be clear to you, and in fact may seem downright unfair. This is where Marci comes in.


Marci's Story

Marci Rosenblum is one of the many people on Facebook who has a hugely popular Facebook profile. Plenty of good content, a steady stream of regular visitors…it appeared that Marci was way ahead of the Facebook pack. Unfortunately, Marci was banned only a couple of weeks ago, for reasons that weren't quite clear to her. To the extent of Marci’s knowledge, she was in full compliance of all of Facebook’s terms regarding use. This included the clause that stated that users have the privilege of “unlimited posting.”

As someone who has relied on Facebook for many years and has spent a considerable amount of money on ad expenditures, this banning was quite distressing for Marci Rosenblum. The impact of all the lost contacts is quite significant as you may well imagine.

Lost in (Cyber)Space
For someone with that many contacts, Marci losing her Facebook account was akin to losing her cell phone, PDA, or personal directory of contact numbers. Put yourself in her position, and you can possibly understand the feeling of frustration at virtually being cut off from crucial contacts. Since so many people rely on Facebook for their web presence, losing an account is almost like losing your online identity!

Apparently, the cause of all Marci's Facebook problems was her placement of links on her “fan” page as well as her “profile” page. Through some unwritten rule in the Facebook terms of agreement, this was apparently enough to warrant a ban. No matter what you may think of Facebook's policies, the loss of all those contacts for such a seemingly minor infraction appears to be excessive. Even more alarmingly, a look at Facebook's terms of use shows that they can ban an account for any reason whatsoever, which apparently covers Marci’s case.

Things could have been easily avoided if Facebook maintains an air of approachability and openness with regard to their policies. Barring that, there certainly is no reason why they would have to be so hard to get a hold of, as Marci later found out for herself.

Like all people who have an issue with a company, Marci wrote a letter to the Facebook management asking why her account was banned and how she could be reinstated. If only it were that easy. Marci in fact had to write no less than five letters before she got a response, and even then it wasn't exactly the answer that she was hoping for. Her account was supposedly banned for “spamming”, a practice that Marci felt she wasn't guilty of. In fact, there are currently numerous other Facebook accounts that are clearly guilty of spamming, yet strangely remain allowed to carry on with their activities.

How to Avoid the Facebook Ban-Hammer
Based on Marci’s Facebook experience, we have pinpointed a few things to keep in mind that will help you avoid the fate that befell her:

* You could post as many links as you want on your “fan” pages, but posting links on your on your “profile” page is a definite no-no.
* Posting the same links on your “profile” page that you have on your “fan” page can get you banned.
* The Facebook site administrators can be extremely difficult to get a hold of. You will have to send them a lot of emails on five different email addresses, before you can expect to get a response, so persistence is key.
* Keep a backup of all your Facebook contacts. As Marci found out so harshly, even getting your Facebook account reinstated will not get your contacts back. If your contacts are essential to your business — as they probably are! — back them up!
* In spite of the apparent vagueness of the Facebook terms of use, you simply have to try and make sure that you conform to all terms regarding use. They can be very hard to reach as Marci has seen, so any thing you can do to avoid a banning would be for the best.

Making the Best of Facebook
All this isn't meant to downplay all of Facebook’s benefits…and they are considerable. Nevertheless, a clear picture of what you can expect regarding your use would go a long way in helping you get the most out of your Facebook account. Make sure that you post links only on your “fan” pages, and you can continue to use Facebook for its many networking benefits.

Build Web Success!
The Web Success Team (http://www.websuccessteam.com) specializes in building and marketing direct response websites that take full advantage of the latest developments on the Internet. The Team has an arsenal of effective web strategies, online tools and proven techniques to promote your products and services. Plus, we’ll show you ways to increase the amount of qualified traffic to your site through the expanding “social web” and how to convert visitors into buyers at a higher rate of return.

> Find Marci Rosenblum at Web Success Traffic:
http://www.websuccesstraffic.com

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