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What’s Up (and down) With Facebook?

As I write this blog, Facebook’s stock price is in the tank. Mark Z. has just assured investors that he will not sell his stock for at least a year. There is a dark cloud over part of Menlo Park , California, that is for sure.

If you’ve read this blog for a while or ever met me, you know that I have a soft spot for the underdog, and also for those who seem to be unfairly criticized. So you might expect me to write an article defending Facebook and asking you to “look at the situation from both sides.” Nope. As a professional whose job it is to deal with Facebook on a daily basis, I can tell you with great certainty that they have made their own bed, so to speak. In other words, when you run your company poorly, bad things happen.

Our clients pay us to deal with media companies like TV networks, radio stations, search engines (like Google) and social media providers (like Facebook) because they don’t have the time to keep up themselves. The more I deal with Facebook, the better I feel about doing this job. The interface that Facebook offers to their “business partners” isn’t just primitive (I’ve been expecting an upgrade for years), it’s broken on a daily basis.

In fact, the system has so many bugs that it has become almost impossible to determine when something is broken and when the problem has been created by Facebook’s now legendary penchant for unnecessary tweaking. One day I created a new ad, but it never showed up on my account interface. I tried several times from different browsers. It was as if Facebook was no longer taking new ads. But I knew better. I made sure to keep tabs on it, and sure enough a few days later my “invisible ad” was running full bore, happily collecting pay-per-click dollars for Facebook. If you aren’t paranoid, Facebook’s bugs can actually cost you money – a lot of money.

Of course, you can always call Facebook to tell them about their problems. Ha! Anyone who has ever tried this is now rolling on the floor laughing. Talking to Facebook is like trying to call the White House to talk to the president – it’s pretty much impossible. You can use Facebook’s clunky online support tools, but they will never get back to you anyway.

In all fairness, I got a call from Facebook a few weeks ago because they wanted to offer me some new features that are available to their volume advertisers. I was encouraged, at least until they found out how much I spend with their products. Then they weren’t interested in me anymore. Evidently I am neither new enough, nor large enough to warrant their attention. It was a short conversation, and they didn’t leave me a number to call.

This morning I ran into a new glitch. It looks like today I can’t even view the ad manager interface – at all. Instead, Facebook will only allow me to create a new ad – not see or edit any current ones. Hopefully this is just a new bug and not some misguided attempt to force me into additional spending. But with Facebook you never know.

Google used to be this way, but they cleaned up their act very quickly when they decided that taking care of business was their business. Now I love Google. My hope is that Facebook does the same, because while they seem to be a shoddily run company, they are still a huge force in the online world. And we continue to have great success using them as a delivery method for brand messages. You just need to be diligent, and it pays to be experienced. Give us a call – we can help.