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Facebook Now Charging Users to Promote Personal Posts

November 23, 2012 2 Comments
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Have you seen the new “Promote” link showing up on your personal Facebook profile posts???

L Scott Harrell - Facebook Charging for Promoting Personal Posts

Right now, the “Promote” link is showing on my profile AFTER I post something to my personal Facebook profile with the following description,

“Now you can promote posts and move your important news, links and photos higher in news feed. This post will be marked as Sponsored.” 

This is what the pop-up looks like when you click the link:

L Scott Harrell - Facebook Charging to Promote Personal Posts

Now, I’m not sure how you all feel about this, Dear Readers, but I’m kinda pissed off. I have the very sneaky suspicion that Facebook is getting ready to throttle back reach of the posts from our personal accounts just like they’ve done to our, less personal, Facebook pages.

I can almost understand Facebook wanting to charge those using pages to promote commerce, causes and for other marketing purposes but to begin charging me to ensure that my posts reach my personal friends and family members is disgusting really; especially considering all of the privacy concerns I have using Facebook.

The rest of this post is a marketing lesson disguised as a rant – or vice versa:

There has also been a great deal of chatter about millions of fake user profiles on Facebook, some articles citing as high as 83 million fake accounts, which is already distressing to page owners who choose to promote posts to their fans and are experiencing what some believe might be some sort of fraud that works like this:

First, the page owner pays to promote a post then tons of useless/fake profiles like the page and the post causing two very real problems:

  1. Percentage of fans engaging with non-promoted posts goes down, thus causing EdgeRank to plummet creating an even greater need to promote posts in order to reach the real audience.
  2. The cost of promoting each post, based in theory upon how many people will see a post, goes up because of the artificially inflated fan count.

As you can imagine, this takes the page owner into an infinite loop (downward spiral, really) where paying for posts becomes a necessity because fake profiles crash the page’s EdgeRank score and less fans see posts in their news feeds – in fact, this EXACT scenario has happened to me when I paid to promote a post on my private investigation agency’s fan page; I received almost a hundred new page likes, which at the time made up almost 10% of the total number of page fans, from user profiles that mostly came from Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, etc, etc.) and had dubiously incomplete profiles at best.

The image was shared over 350 times, liked 134 times and was seen by almost 12,000 “people.”

Yeah Right. 

There is NO WAY ON GOD”S GREEN EARTH those are legitimate numbers – the post was not that interesting and was in English, while the vast majority of those that engaged with the post (liked, shared or commented) had foreign language Facebook profiles. Even if a percentage of these user profiles represented real people, they are all essentially useless to me as a private investigation agency owner local to little ol’ Pensacola, Florida in the United States because not a single one of them represents my typical “retail” agency client profile.

So now I have one hundred new page likes that are never going to be agency clients and on whom I can never count to read or engage with any of my page posts again, and they’re not despite my best efforts. EdgeRank is sinking and my page’s reach is shrinking fast.

These new page fans are worse than useless… they’re expensive.

What’s the answer? It would appear that I have to go in and manually sort out and remove the fans that I think are fake or otherwise harming my page’s traffic. This will neither be an easy task, nor can it be accomplished quickly.

So, Dear Readers, the point of the rant is really two-fold:

  1. Will my personal post’s reach to family and friends now be diminished so that Facebook can cajole me into paying to promote posts?
  2. Will paying to promote personal posts have as disastrous effects on my user account as it has had on my Facebook page?

Time will only tell. Right?

BTW… I’m going to pay to have this post promoted via Facebook JUST THIS ONCE and we’ll see how it all works out. Why is it that I just cannot leave Facebook?

Please leave me your comments below. “Would YOU pay to promote a personal post?”

Filed in: Disputes, Marketing • Tags: , ,

About the Author:

L. Scott Harrell is a retired high profile private investigator and online entrepreneur. This is his personal blog and opinions; they may not reflect those of his companies' management, employees or business partners. Posts may contain strong language and controversy.

Comments (2)

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  1. Tamarin says:

    Ugh, FB just keeps getting worse and worse… I can’t think of a scenario where I would pay to promote a personal post.

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