As many of you know, Recruiter’s company page on Facebook used to be http://www.facebook.com/recruiter. We’ve been steadily promoting this page for the past 7 months – on the Recruiter.com website, on our downloadable Recruiter desktop toolbar, on our LinkedIn groups (to over 250,000+ professionals on a weekly basis), and even via paid advertising on Facebook itself.
Like most companies who value their social media footprint, this page was at the core of our online strategy. Our fan base was steadily being built up, and we were busy working on new and better ways to keep our users engaged with our company.
However, on March 23, 2011, we received an email from Facebook notifying us that the “recruiter” username was given to us by mistake, and that Facebook has decided to take it back. Just like that, our company page on Facebook now resolves to a “Page not found” stub. No warning, no time to notify our users, nothing.
I’ve had several meetings with Facebook over this issue in the past month, but their position has remained very firm: the “recruiter” name is on Facebook’s reserved list, and can no longer be made available to us. Facebook stood behind its self proclaimed legal right to take away any username, for any reason, at any time.
Needless to say, I’ve been rather ticked off by this whole episode. Their positioning is rather alarming in my opinion. What if a company has 1 million fans, or has spent $1 million promoting its Facebook page (as most companies do nowadays in lieu of their own website)? Can Facebook still take away their page, and worse, monetize that traffic? Granted, Recruiter.com is a very young company so we’re only just starting out – but at what point does this Facebook practice become inappropriate? Is this something that’s rampant?
What we do know is that, not too long ago, Facebook tried to snatch the “harman” vanity URL from a user (Harman Bajwa) in order to sell it to Harman International. When the story got exposed, Facebook gave Mr. Bajwa his URL back and was quick to apologize…
Today, I’m no longer a fan of Facebook. I will leave all of our existing links to http://www.facebook.com/recruiter intact as a act of protest. Unlike.