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Seems Dumb To Me

By - May 16, 2008

Apparently there are all sorts of unofficial brand fan pages on Facebook. This story talks about how one of them, a fan page for Ralph Lauren, was disabled and transferred from the individual who started it to an “official” brand page on Facebook. As far as I can tell, this was done by Facebook at the behest of the brand. To Laruen’s credit, it wrote a nice note to the owner (duplicated in the post) and offered him money for his troubles. But I don’t think this is a very good idea. A brand should encourage fans to evangelize their brand, not buy them off and shut them down with a $200 gift certificate.

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5 thoughts on “Seems Dumb To Me

  1. I couldn’t agree more that brands should let fans evangelize their brand. Facebook’s Groups product works quite well for this purpose.

    Facebook Pages are intended to be authoritative, official placements to represent a company, brand, artist or other entity. Ralph Lauren is justified in wanting to own their own “authoritative” Facebook Page. Would you rather they offered the previous tenant nothing, or do you think $200K would be more appropriate. If the latter, then this would simply be a new form of domain squatting.

    I think Facebook made the right call in making this a self-service feature to begin with and shows good judgment in how they handle ownership situations.

  2. I know that if someone created a fan page for my brand, I would take advantage of it, partly to avoid the backlash of “taking away” the person’s page and also because I don’t want to control what people actually say about my brand.

    I would would engage the creator and provide some exclusive insider stuff to really make them feel special, engendering even more love from them, which will then be spread to all their friends, acquaintances and “fans” of the page.

    If you want positive word of mouth and ridiculous support, get a super fan involved (just look at what Mariah Carey’s fan club has been doing to promote her album).

    If you want negative word of mouth – take away the page and they probably tell 100x as many people in this day and age, worse when it shows up on a blog…like right now.

  3. Michael Cohn says:

    Don’t you think there’s a difference between encouraging a conversation about your brand, and awarding spokesmanship to the first person who wears a t-shirt with your logo on it?

  4. @michael – I think there is a difference. But why not have a program where all these folks can be a part? No reason to make them official spokespeople. But every reason to embrace them.

  5. Marko Bon says:

    @ John — Ralph Lauren did not request that the Page “Squatter” be removed from Facebook. Our stance was very much to reward him for being a fan, which you note in your post. I believe the user in question had taken over multiple fan pages across many luxury brands — so perhaps Facebook removed him for that reason, or at the behest of another brand.