Saturday, November 28, 2009

Facebook Terms of Service Changed for Competitions

Hi all, well, as I'm sure you are aware from my previous blog postings I'm a big advocate of Facebook for t-shirt companies and competitions as I have been able to run one successfully for LadyUmbrella t-shirts in the not too distant past. Sadly though it looks like Facebook has "moved the goalposts".

I was first alerted to the change by Tim at Sogeshirts and he himself said he had been notified by Bulentm at Ragtees (credit where credit is due). So, lets get down to it..

1) - Facebook now has to approve any competition you are going to run. With all the companies now joining Facebook and running competitions this will result in, one would imagine huge waiting times - the days of ad hoc give aways could be gone. T-shirt competitions will now have to be planned well in advance and strategically so to tie in with new launches of t-shirts, upcoming holidays etc - I guess it would depend on how rigorously and vigorously Facebook are going to clamp down on competitions and how rapidly they can "approve" competitions.

2) - Competitions can't be run on the wall which really, to a degree, negates the benefit of running a competition. Competitions are run to raise brand awareness or attract new customers and having people enter t-shirt competitions by posting comments, pictures etc was an ideal way to harness the viral and social nature of Facebook. So, now other strategies will have to evolve, perhaps using blogs in conjunction with facebook - a tactic of "get 10 friends to join my fanpage and win a badge" kind of idea with "contestants" notifying you via twitter or blogs..any other suggestions on how to keep the competitions rolling?

3 - It is important to note that Facebook has not crushed competitions entirely. You can still run them via tabs and FBML - just not on the wall (where its easy and really useful). Presumably Facebook is doing this to try reduce spam or clutter on peoples streams and so allowing competitions in tabs would do that. Unfortunately, FBML is not the easiest of things to play around with which may result in the need for a costly "coder". Are Facebook looking to get more big name brands with big pockets to use their platform?

Whatever the reasoning behind it it seems somewhat illogical to me. Facebook have been one of the pioneers of social media and networking and tried to make it easy to interact be it with events and useful apps but creating these new rules flies in the face of that.

For further reading and some direct quotes from the Facebook crew I suggest you check out what I read - but not before you leave a comment and let me (and the t-shirt population at large) about any ideas you have to keep competitions running or any other information you may have heard about Facebook changing the competition rules.

Also, it would be in the spirit of things to alert our fellow tee peoples of these changes - I'm sure no one wants to unwittingly run the risk of getting their fanpage closed down.

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  1. I stopped using Facebook at the level I was (and planned to maintain) back in February. This was when they changed their TOS without any notifications. New TOS gave ownership of all your uploaded information over to Facebook… FOREVER!! They reverted, but not before I lost confidence in using the platform for more than link sharing.

    Not having a large FB fan following, I'm not really the person to comment about what would work towards keeping competitions running through FB - but I can say that when we have a new comp start, all we do is notify fans via a fan update. Then share the link on the wall which takes fans to our main domain (you could do the same with a blog!)

  2. P.S I bet those bigger companies that use facebook Ads will have their competition plans approved asap! Here's to equality!

  3. Hey Rob funny that I just read this now. I didn't realize you could still do competitions on other tabs or FBML. Glad I read your well informed blog. I tend to overlook stuff that I have even read.

  4. I agree Manz, they will more than likely be fast tracked - great for the little guys who built facebook huh?

    And here to help Soge hehe..

  5. I was going to paste the link without permission pictures of nature