Agent

Facebook Doesn’t Like Realtors

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I was recently sent an email by a reader regarding Facebook’s take on placing real estate listings in its Marketplace. I thought it presented an interesting dilemma, so I’m reprinting here.

To summarize. Facebook, it seems, does not want Realtors placing their listings in its marketplace and will suspend the accounts of any persons caught doing so. Instead, it prefers that Realtors promote them using its paid ‘Social Ads’ service.

To be fair, I can kind of understand Facebook’s desire to keep its marketplace from being populated with thousands of homes for sale. But are Realtors wrong to want to take advantage of this service?

Further, it does seem kind of heavy handed for Facebook to single out one agent versus others that are clearly doing the same thing and moreover, then forcing them to use their CPC and CPM products to promote their listings. Is this good business strategy for Facebook or a predatory move to squeeze money out of Realtors?

I’m thinking maybe Facebook needs to compromise and create a separate section for real estate listings.

In any case, what’s your take? Full email re-printed below (read thread from bottom up):

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My company, is fully engaged in utilizing social media and networks to promote our inventory and reach potential clients. Of course, one of the social networking sites many of my agents have been exploring as a way to promote themselves and their listings is Facebook.

Recently, Facebook launched a mini-app called marketplace–and section therein presumably dedicated to the promotion of for sale listings. Myself and my agents thought this would be a great place to put our listings and tap into the community of Facebook members who may be in the market to purchase a home. In fact, we noticed many other Realtors doing the same.

Well, yesterday something strange happened. One of my agents decided to place her inventory under the for sale section in marketplace. She made sure she followed all the rules and even studied how other Realtors posted their listings there. Then out of nowhere she received an email notification telling her to please remove her listings from the site or else her profile could be suspended. I took a look at her postings and there was nothing out of the ordinary. Many other Realtors have posted their inventory in the exact same manner, yet she was singled out.

Rather than try and explain the subsequent dialogue between her and a representative from Facebook, I’ll post a summary of the back and forth emails here:

—–Original Message—–
From: Sales Support [mailto:sales-support+ngltjtq@facebook.com]
Sent: Tue 1/22/2008 5:24 PM
To: redacted
Subject: Re: RE: Facebook Warning

Hi redacted,

You may not list your business inventory in Marketplace. If you would like to advertise your inventory, we recommend Facebook Ads.

Facebook Social Ads leverage the power of Facebook News Feed by serving relevant stories when users’ friends take actions with brands or businesses. Social Ads can include just the advertiser’s creative or the advertiser’s creative with a social action as the headline.

There are two versions of Social Ads that can be purchased on either a CPC or CPM basis. A Sponsored Story is how a business or brand can start to promote their product or service on Facebook. This ad unit is 100% branded by the advertiser with copy and image and does not include any social interactions. It can link to a Facebook Page, Application or external website. An ad directed to a Facebook Page or Application can generate social actions for future campaigns. A Sponsored Social Story is a Sponsored Story with a user’s friends’ interactions with a Facebook Page or Application as the headline. It includes the branded image and copy from the advertiser alongside the social action. To create a Sponsored Social Story you will need to select the ‘Use social interactions in your ad’ option when creating your ad.

To learn more about Social Ads and start creating your campaign, please visit http://www.facebook.com/ads/create/index.php?.

Let us know if you have any further questions.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Ryann
Customer Operations
Facebook

—–Original Message to Facebook—–
From: redacted
To: sales-support+ngltjtq@facebook.com
Subject: RE: RE: Facebook Warning

Dear Ryann,

As a Realtor for [redacted] I placed 4 listings:
3 listings were individual units Units 1,2 & 3 in the same building (South Boston) and
1 listing was a single family home in West Roxbury.

I have reviewed other real estate listings from other agencies and I feel I had complied with all the Terms of Use. Would you please advise me on what I am doing wrong so I may correct it and resubmit the listings. Thank you.

REALTOR

—–Original Message—–
From: Sales Support [mailto:sales-support+ngltjtq@facebook.com]
Sent: Sun 1/20/2008 1:52 PM
To:  redacted
Subject: Re: RE: Facebook Warning

Hi redacted,

Facebook reserves the right to remove listings that violate the Marketplace Guidelines and/or Facebook’s Terms of Use. Facebook prohibits users from posting listings to promote a business or brand. We removes joke listings, as well as those that are miscategorized, irrelevant, or do not advertise an actual, legitimate product. Duplicate or spam listings are also removed.

If a listing is removed for any of these reasons, no refund will be issued. Unfortunately, for both technical and security reasons, Facebook cannot provide further information about the removed content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please refrain from posting content that violates our Terms in the future. If you would like more information on content prohibited in Marketplace, please feel free to read Facebook’s Marketplace Guidelines.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Ryann
Customer Operations
Facebook

—–Original Message to Facebook—–
From: redacted
To: warning+hjk5~v5m@facebookmail.com, warning@facebook.com
Subject: RE: Facebook Warning

Hello,

I have reviewed the Terms of Use multiple times and I do not understand how I violated the terms of use. I would appreciate a response. Thank you.

REALTOR

—–Original Message—–
From: Facebook [mailto:warning+hjk5~v5m@facebookmail.com]
Sent: Fri 1/18/2008 5:21 PM
To: redacted
Subject: Facebook Warning

Hello,

You posted a Marketplace listing that violated our Terms of Use, and this listing has been removed. We do not allow spam, nudity, drug use, attacks on an individual or group, or other obscene content. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us at warning@facebook.com from your login email address.

The Facebook Team