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Facebook Bans Google+ Ads 548

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-friends-list-too-far dept.
Barbara, not Barbie writes "Not content with making it hard for people to export their Facebook contacts to Google+, Facebook has now banned all ads from app developer Michael Lee Johnson, who ran an ad saying 'Add Michael to Google+.' Facebook sent him the following message: 'Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.'"
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Facebook Bans Google+ Ads

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  • by Abstrackt (609015) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @11:59AM (#36793006)

    Even if Facebook really didn't disable this guy's account for running a Google+ ad they have effectively become an ad for Google+ themselves.

    • However, if they did, isn't it anti-competitive?
      • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:13PM (#36793102)

        No - Facebook aren't doing anything here to stop the competition, nothing says they have to advertise their competition within their own service.

        • by multisync (218450) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:54PM (#36793406) Journal

          nothing says they have to advertise their competition within their own service.

          Exactly. You don't see ads for the Superbowl on competing networks.

        • by Bengie (1121981)

          Because I never see Comcast commercials on my Charter Comm network or AT&T commercials for broadband.

          Because Intel not allowing AMD to use x86 wasn't an issue. Nope, nothing anti-competitive.

        • by sustik (90111) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @01:22PM (#36793598)

          Disclaimer: I have no Facebook or Google+ account (and I plan to have neither).

          For me this tells that Facebook is being scared. Probably they are right. They
          do not trust that they would be able to maintain their customer base in the face of Google+
          and other competitors if compared service. Face it: they do not offer anything that that
          others could not. All the power of social networking sites are in the numbers, nothing else.
          So they are very rational when they do all they can to minimize exposure to competitors.
          So I think they do everything they can to stop competitors (but stay within the law I hope).

        • by cgenman (325138) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @02:16PM (#36793916) Homepage

          That's definitely arguable. Google would be in deep antitrust if Facebook suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from all Google search results.

          Not running the ads are one thing. Banning the account is another. If he can prove that he was negatively impacted by what was essentially punitive actions by a company for using a competitor, he might have grounds.

        • by hey! (33014)

          Depends on the terms of service between Facebook and the developer. If mentioning a competitive social media service in an ad is a violation of the TOS, then they're within their rights. If it's NOT mentioned in the TOS, they can change the TOS, take the the "offending" ads and tell the developer not to post any more such ads. It's not clear for me that the ad in question violates Facebooks TOS, because he's trolling for a Google+ invite and that's not cross-promotion.

          Here's the issue: Facebook solicits d

      • by Surt (22457) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:14PM (#36793112) Homepage Journal

        You're allowed to be as anti-competitive as you want until you have a monopoly position and the government gets involved. Facebook hardly has a monopoly on social networking, there are literally dozens of competitors in the space, and at least 5 of them have substantial market share.

        • by TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @01:15PM (#36793556)

          Not sure that I'd call Facebook a monopoly, but "market share" is a bad way to think about social networks, since if you add up everyone's market share you end up with more than 100%--people are on more than one network. Network effects are key here--people don't want a Facebook account because of specific features of Facebook, they want a Facebook account because everyone else has a Facebook account. So if you're looking for a competitor to Facebook, you don't just want a different social network, you want a different social network that all of your friends also belong to. And depending on who you are and who your friends are, Facebook may very well have a monopoly on that product.

          Really, when you join Facebook, you aren't just becoming a customer, you're becoming the product--you're becoming the reason other people want to join Facebook, and the reason advertisers and app developers want to do business on Facebook.

    • by Locutus (9039)
      we'll see if this even makes it out of the geekier side of the online news forums. It's the 'other' forums where the advertising would be effective since most everyone here has already heard of Google+.

      on a side note, I wonder when Facebook will start disabling all users using a Gmail account for their email address.

      LoB
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:04PM (#36793040)

    When will companies realize that putting your head in the sand and pretending the competition does not exist will make it go away? This is a stupid move on facebook's part. If you are scared of the new competition, than innovate and make your product better. Otherwise you will end up like Blockbuster, GM, and countless others examples throughout history.

    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:31PM (#36793220)

      I'm sorry, but I didn't realise that GMs or Blockbusters troubles started when they refused to advertise their rivals in their own stores or showrooms...

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @02:08PM (#36793876) Journal
        And yet Google actually did show me adverts for Bing. If you're confident in your product, then running adverts for your competitors is great - they pay you money, but you don't lose any customers. If you aren't confident in your product, then refusing to run adverts for your competitor announces this to the world.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Did you have to try hard to miss the point, or does it come natural to you?

        GM bad blockbuster tried to ignore the competition, and adopt on there own speed instead of being nimble.
        Facebook is doing the same that. That was the posters point, dumbass.

  • by kullnd (760403) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:05PM (#36793050)
    Funny thing is that alot less people would have noticed such a stunt had Facebook just left it alone... Thanks to their decision, I didn't even have to log into Facebook to see the ad, he doesn't have to pay for the impression of the ad to me, and Facebook doesn't get the money for it! ... Sweet Deal
    • by dcollins (135727)

      But the next million times it happens (or pre-empted from happening due to chilling effects), it won't land on Slashdot's main page. So the expected-value analysis is probably still in Facebook's favor.

  • Also... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jessified (1150003) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:09PM (#36793078)
    Also in the news, Google bans Facebook from it's search results. Facebook complains, fails to see the humour of the situation.
    • Re:Also... (Score:4, Funny)

      by poind3xt3r (890661) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:43PM (#36793312)
      Facebook

      > Did you mean: Google+
    • Wouldn't that be leveraging an advantageous position in one market in order to gain an advantage in another...?

      • Wouldn't that be leveraging an advantageous position in one market in order to gain an advantage in another...?

        No, Google is everything. There is no 'other'.

  • seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locutus (9039) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:10PM (#36793080)
    They tell him they can't identify which part(s) of their own Terms of Service have been violated and then tell the guy if he has any questions he should review their terms of service for the answers. WTF over. The term Sophomoric comes to mind.

    At the very least they should have changed their ToS and then notified him of what he's violated.

    LoB
    • by dcollins (135727)

      Of course, that's just an automated message that gets sent out identically any time someone is banned.

    • by ukemike (956477) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @01:03PM (#36793450) Homepage
      Terms of Service, section 11 "Special Provisions Applicable to Advertisers" number 13 "We may reject or remove any ad for any reason."

      then section 14 "Termination" number 1 "If you violate the letter or spirit of this Statement, or otherwise create risk or possible legal exposure for us, we can stop providing all or part of Facebook to you."

      So the guy ran afoul of section 11 number 13 and was then terminated because he created "risk." Risk of loosing users. Lame.
  • Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.

    This is such nonsense. If he has violated it, tell him where. Giving a non-specific reason and telling him to try and work it out for himself is ridiculous.

    (Yes, obviously this is a "we are banning you but no
    • Giving specific reasons would encourage people to poke at you to find weaknesses.
      • Security through obscurity then.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        I'm sorry, but that's not legitimate in this case. The rules are the rules and if you want people to live up to them, then they have to be clear. If they won't tell him what the violation was, then they have a responsibility to give the money back and not to spaz out if the ad gets relisted.

        One of the things about rule of law is that it doesn't work if the people being expected to live under it aren't clear as to what specifically the laws are. Granted this is just a contract, but the same logic applies.

  • At this rate I bet that $1B valuation and IPO will be all smoke.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:12PM (#36793100) Homepage

    A lot of companies have ads set to display when a user searches for their company name. That's not apparently the case for Facebook.

    But has anybody seen a Facebook ad in the context of any other search terms on Google?

    • I truly don't think Facebook needs ads or Google at this point. Like Google, they are basically making sure you can't use anything electronic without seeing them. Also, Google marketing has managed to make Google the new word for search and Facebook has people asking for Facebook invites as if they're asking for a phone number. Really neither of them need each other. And both of them are obviously afraid of each other. If I were Facebook right now, I'd be looking to create my own YouTube and search engine.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      I doubt that Google bans Facebook ads, that would be a tremendous antitrust violation. More likely, Facebook either doesn't bother to advertise or only advertises for search terms that you haven't entered. I personally ignore the ads so I wouldn't know.

      Plus, it would be counterproductive given that Google+ is largely being sold by not being Facebook, ads for Facebook likely remind people that they want in on Google+

  • by hotfireball (948064) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:15PM (#36793116)
    The Facebook is doomed. They understand that and they are trying to do anything possible to stop people running away. But it is inevitable: Google+ is much better place to do things like that.
  • by guttentag (313541) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:17PM (#36793138) Journal

    'Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.'

    In a nutshell: "Your account has been disabled, we won't do business with you anymore, and we can't tell you why." Did I miss something? Did Verizon [slashdot.org] buy out Facebook? Or are we simply seeing the beginning of a pattern in the way business is going to be conducted in the future to avoid the expense of having to pay a human being to deal with customers, and to avoid the possibility of writing anything specific that could be used in court or the media?

    What ever happened to being blunt and frank, like when the Cleveland Stadium Corp responded [lettersofnote.com] to a complaint with a reply on company letterhead that read:

    Attached is a letter that we received on November 19, 1974. I feel that you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters.

    Very truly yours,

    CLEVELAND STADIUM CORP.

    • And this is why I'm ready to jettison Facebook.
      • by guttentag (313541)

        And this is why I'm ready to jettison Facebook.

        Will you announce it on your wall?

        Sunday July 17
        Getting ready to jettison Facebook

        Monday July 18
        Dropped Facebook today. Sticking it to 'em.

        Tuesday July 19
        Got 2 messages today from friends who want me to come back to Facebook. Suspect it's not really my friends, it's Facebook masquerading as my friends. Diabolical!

        Thursday July 21
        Three days without Facebook so far. (5 people like this)

        Thursday July 28
        Ten days without Facebook so far. (Go

    • Posting to unmod a wrong mod.

  • by digitalderbs (718388) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @12:22PM (#36793172)
    This article and summary are unclear about how the advert was posted--presumably it was a wall post.

    The article lists various places in the terms of use that he might have violated, but this excerpt seems most likely:

    ""We may refuse ads at any time for any reason, including our determination that they promote competing products or services or negatively affect our business or relationship with our users."

    Which seems overly-broad and anti-competitive. What exactly constitutes an ad? Can I express my interest in something only if facebook isn't developing a competing product?
  • In the linked story, the ad is still being pulled from a server that adblock will remove, so disable it to see it.
  • When will some organizations learn... stuff like this is best ignored, not banned.

  • I'll get riled up when I see Facebook ban a legitimate Google+ ad. I don't doubt they would, but I don't see evidence that the ban is because it's for Google+. Suppose I put an ad on Facebook that says, "Hey everyone, Friend me on Facebook!". I have a feeling it might get the same treatment.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @01:12PM (#36793532) Journal
    I sent out some invites and my daughter, and some of my nephews were denied entry to Google+ because they are not yet over 18. So Google is not really trying all that hard to woo people into its fold. But all this antics by Facebook makes it look scared. BTW I hope Facebook permits users under 18 and all these kids playing farmville in Facebook are not lying about their age.
  • by toriver (11308) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @01:14PM (#36793548)

    I take it then that Facebook happily stands behind ads for penny auction scams, "consumption loans" with exuberant rates, suspicious herbs etc.?

    Google, please get G+ finished so we can ditch Zyngabook once and for all.

  • by drolli (522659) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @03:27PM (#36794306) Journal

    We take this as a serious competitor/

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @05:08PM (#36794780) Homepage

    'Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.'"

    Facebook is an American company. Since when did any American ever use the term "advert"? Seriously, Americans do not say this. The shortened form of "advertisement" in the U.S. is "ad," not "advert." Any claim otherwise makes me want to see the actual text of the original email, if one did indeed exist. Furthermore, companies do not let random employees write emails about corporate policy and send them out without having them reviewed and vetted for language. This sounds like someone (from the UK) is using the press to hype up his own business at Facebook's expense.

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