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Facebook ‘Scumbags’ Charge Advertisers for Bots

Facebook 'Scumbags' Charge Advertisers for Bots

“They’re scumbags,” says company Limited Run after discovering its Facebook advertising spend was being driven up by automated bots.

Limited Run, a company that offers a platform for labels, musicians and artists, has announced they are pulling their advertising spend from Facebook and closing their business page.

The company has given two reasons; firstly, because they believe that 80 percent of advertising click-throughs were from ‘bot’ software, and that Facebook allegedly demanded an additional $2,000 per month in order for them to change company name on their business page.

“Unfortunately, while testing their ad system, we noticed some very strange things,” says the announcement that Limited Run posted to Facebook. “Facebook was charging us for clicks, yet we could only verify about 20 percent of them actually showing up on our site.”

Limited Run claims in the same post that they were eventually forced to develop their own analytics software to get to the bottom of the issue.

“Here’s what we found: on about 80 percent of the clicks Facebook was charging us for, JavaScript wasn’t on. And if the person clicking the ad doesn’t have JavaScript, it’s very difficult for an analytics service to verify the click.”

Yet when they analysed the attributes of traffic coming to their website, only around two percent of visitors didn’t have JavaScript enabled. The maths simply didn’t add up, so Limited Run went one step further.

“We built a page logger. Any time a page was loaded, we’d keep track of it. You know what we found? The 80 percent of clicks we were paying for were from bots. That’s correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs.”

Limited Run haven’t been able to attribute the enormous number of bot traffic to Facebook, and as yet have steered clear of any direct accusations, saying merely that Facebook refused to answer their support queries on the matter. Unfortunately, while trying to sort one mess out, Facebook provided yet another.

“While we were testing Facebook ads, we were also trying to get Facebook to let us change our name,” the post continues. “Finally, we got a call from someone at Facebook. They said they would allow us to change our name. NICE! But only if we agreed to spend $2000 or more in advertising a month.”

It was at this point that Limited Run (previously, Limited Pressing) decided announce the end of its relationship with Facebook, and while having committed to taking down its Facebook page, the company as yet hasn’t done so. Instead, the number of Facebook fans who ‘like’ the page has since more than doubled.

Facebook has also spoken out on the issues Limited Run has raised, telling the LA Times that it is “currently investigating their claims”.

“For their issue with the Page name change, there seems to be some sort of miscommunication. We do not charge pages to have their names changed. Our team is reaching out about this now,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.

If this company’s claims about the social networking giant are true, surely more businesses are being affected. How long will it be before we start hearing about more brands being taken for a ride by these bully-boy tactics? On the other hand, if these claims can’t be substantiated in the short-term, the whole affair could boil down to a standard press beat-up for Limited Run; the company has at least discovered a marketing avenue that is less expensive than Facebook advertising.

“Damn we were so p*ssed. We still are. This is why we need to delete this page and move away from Facebook. They’re scumbags and we just don’t have the patience for scumbags.”

 

2 Comments

  • I’d be really interested to see if this spurs other companies who are spending big on FB advertising to investigate whether their click traffic is legit.

    Reply
    • Tom
    • 2nd August

    How is this a surprise? Facebook has been mired in claims of dodgy dealings since the start. It just seems the culture hasn’t changed over the years and it’s the same old same old. Moving on…

    Reply

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