Or: Facebook Done Wrong
Pretty much every search marketer has taken a lesson from George Takei and his amazing use of social media. I know that I for one, as a huge Star Trek nerd and Internet Marketer on top of that have “Followed” him since his earlier days on Facebook. So you can imagine my surprise when I found that I could no longer Comment on his status updates or even Like them. So why would this be?
Let me begin by noting that at no time in any of my Comments did I make any statement that might be considered offensive. I don’t object to his orientation, I love Star Trek and I’ve got way too much to do in my day to troll (and if I wanted to there are just so many people I’d rather launch into objections on). So what happened that resulted in me having my ability to Like or Comment on George Takei’s Facebook page blocked you ask?
It Started With A Comment Being Removed And Then …
It started with a comment getting removed. I can’t remember the specific product over at Amazon that was being promoted on his Wall that I Commented on but I do recall that when I clicked the link my first though was, “Really? This is what you’re promoting?” Rather than insert that comment (which would have matched quite a number of others at the time) I decided to do a little snooping. It seemed suspicious to me that all the links were through bit.ly (though he now uses different URL shorteners). I mean, when I just find something I like I don’t usually shorten the URL unless I either need to track it or hide it. So which was it?
Well here’s where I got myself in trouble with Mr. George Takei (or more likely, the folks managing his social media). I noticed that the URL shortener lead to an Amazon URL (like … every time) and they all have an affiliate ID (I know as it looks just like the IDs I use). So we can now eliminate the need for tracking since that’s available through the affiliate program itself. All that leaves is hiding the URL.
Well, I decided to make mention of it and props to them for responsiveness – within about 30 seconds it was removed. I should note that at the same time as my one comment noting that the link was an affiliate link and they should be open about it and not promote crap, there were numerous comments on his wall that I’d deem as downright offensive. Those stayed – mine was removed.
Well – I let it go for a bit but I started seeing more and more affiliate links and to worse and worse products. I decided to make mention of it again and this time included a note that without disclosing that there was profit behind the link, that they were likely violating the law which requires disclosure of such. And that was the last time I was able to Comment on George Takei’s wall on Facebook, or even Like a post … I’d been blocked.
And So …
I use this as a horrible example of how to interact on social media and one which could backfire. If I’ve noticed then certainly others will and if the products marketed on his wall continue to be second-rate there’s sure to be a loss of interest. People followed George because he was entertaining and honest and if that’s gone – then what’s left? And do I even need to mention that posts like this one, not particularly positive, are likely to creep up?
Getting back to my Treky roots however I have to hope that things smooth over and that the social media folks stop trying to eke a buck or two at every turn and stick to promoting George himself, being clear when they’re profiting of links they post and hopefully stop being skewed by their Amazon affiliate ID and post links to genuinely interesting things. And if any of the social media managers of George Takei read this: ThinkGeek has an affiliate program and their products are far more entertaining than what you’ve been posting lately. Just be sure to note the profit you’ll be making. People don’t mind if it’s genuinely interesting.