Facebook Crosses the Line. Again.

Facebook is now posting advertisements from my account.

Yesterday, a friend sent me an email message that included the following shared Facebook update:

An Ad I didn't Write

Yes, it’s a Facebook update apparently written by me that is promoting a magazine I don’t read or care about. This appeared in one of the groups on Facebook that I’m a member of.

When I clicked the link to see the ad for myself, Facebook prompted me to log in with my friend’s account information. It actually filled in the user ID field with his account name.

I was appalled.

Let’s look at what’s going on here: this is a Facebook update that looks like it was written by me to promote a product I don’t care about.

Is it unreasonable for me to be outraged?

And yes, I checked the Facebook Ad settings. This is the only one that seems as if it should apply and I’ve got it set to No One, meaning no one can see my name attached to any advertisement:

Ad Settings

Why has this happened? How many other times has it happened? Is it happening to your Facebook account, too?

How many more liberties will Facebook take with our privacy in an effort to maximize their bottom line and bombard us with advertising?

Another Social Networking FAIL

Tip: When you wait five years to reply to a tweet, you’re doing it wrong.

Yesterday, a tweet addressed to me using Twitter’s @Reply feature appeared in my timeline on the Twitter app on my Mac:

Tweet from GotPrint

Thanks for my interest? What interest? I’d been using GotPrint.com for several years, but didn’t recall ever using Twitter to express my interest in the company.

Fortunately, the Twitter app (and Twitter.com, for that matter) makes it easy to see the original or “parent” tweet an @Reply is in response to. When I checked, I found the following Tweet:

Parent Tweet

Note the date on that tweet: December 10, 2007. Now note the date on this post: July 6, 2013. I tweeted about the company — not even using its Twitter name — five and a half years ago.

And they replied yesterday with a canned, spammy response.

Annoyed at being spammed, I responded:


Apparently, the folks at GotPrint.com think I’m an idiot. Their response a short while later offered an unlikely and lame excuse:

Lame Excuse

Follow up? Five and half years later?

It’s far more likely that GotPrint.com got its hands on a Twitter bot that ran through all the old tweets that mentioned the company by name and generated spam like the message I got. While most people would likely ignore the message — because, let’s face it, most people don’t actually read the tweets on their timeline — I didn’t.

I replied:


And then I blogged about it here.

Why is this a social networking failure? Mostly because GotPrint.com — or the individual/organization it hired to handle its social networking — misses the point of social networking: engagement.

Social networking isn’t about gathering followers and spamming them with product info. Social networking is about making your company available for a dialog with your customers and potential customers. A timely dialog. (I complained about this in another blog post years ago, but I can’t seem to find the post to link to it. Sorry!)

The companies that use social networking effectively respond promptly and appropriately to social network mentions of their companies, especially when those mentions tag the company by its Twitter (or Facebook or other social network) name. They provide additional information when requested. They link to helpful documentation to solve specific problems. They provide customer service information when its needed.

They don’t generate automated responses using bots based on key words or phrases. They don’t come up with lame excuses when they’re caught doing something stupid (like responding to a 5-1/2 year old tweet). And they certainly don’t attack other social networking users who might have something negative to say about them (as Amy’s Baking Company so famously did earlier this year).

Twitter has been around for more than seven years now. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks have also been around for quite some time. I find it incredible that organizations are still struggling to make social networking part of their customer service and marketing efforts. It’s pretty simple; why can’t they figure it out?

As for GotPrint.com, well, I’ll likely continue using them for my print marketing needs — which, admittedly is limited these days. But it isn’t because of the tweet I received from them yesterday. It’s because their price and quality meets my needs. If anything, yesterday’s tweet is a black mark against them — the only black mark so far.

And no, I won’t follow them on Twitter. In fact, if I hear from them again, I’ll likely report them for spam.

Facebook Gifts Ads

Another in-your-face attempt to sell products and services by using the names of people you know to promote them.

Facebook is apparently taking every possible opportunity to throw an ad at me. Today, I clicked a link in a sidebar column telling me about a friend’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Jim!) and get a gift suggestion. If that’s not enough to convince me to use Facebook to buy Jim a gift, I’m presented with a list of friends who have succumbed to the pressure of Facebook gift ads. But rather than be convinced that I should follow the pack, I’m left wondering why my friends used this “feature.” Don’t they know that the more we respond positively to Facebook’s in-your-face advertising, the more advertising they’ll throw at us.

Facebook Gifts Ad

I should mention here that this browser has AdBlocker Plus installed, so these ads are getting past my first line of defense.

And yes, I’m aware that websites make money on advertising. But I find it extraordinarily offensive that people I know should be used to market goods and services to me. I hope that if my name appears attached to an ad anywhere on Facebook I’ll be told by someone who sees it. (With a screenshot, please.)

Who Is Your Website Designed For?

Your visitors or your advertisers?

If I wake up before 6 AM and don’t have a morning appointment, my routine includes lounging in bed until 6 with my iPad, catching up on the social networks (Twitter and Facebook), Words with Friends games in progress, and perhaps email or RSS feeds. It’s a nice, leisurely way to start the day.

This morning, while browsing through Facebook statuses, I found a link that interested me. It was in the typical “Top Ten” (or in this case, Top 11) format and, from its description, it promised to be an interesting look back at a specific company’s products. I clicked the link and this is what happened:

  1. The page loaded with an ad overlaid on it. The ad was almost full-screen and there was no way to close it. I had to wait it out — about 10-15 seconds, during which time I didn’t tap anything for fear of being transported to another site.
  2. An ad-filled page appeared with a tiny introductory paragraph near the top and the first list item beneath it.

That was it. To see the other 10 items on the list, I’d have to view 10 more ad-filled pages.

Oh, and did I mention that some of those ads had blinking and flashing components designed to draw your attention away from any content you might have come to see? The kind of ads that make you want to shove your fist through your computer display?

Clearly, the site was designed to benefit its advertisers more than its readers. Since the site builders/owners obviously didn’t give a crap about visitors, I closed the browser window in frustration and went on with my life, making a mental note to avoid that site in the future.

Am I the only one who does this?

Am I the only one who cares more about my time than wading through ads and other clutter to find the content I came to a site for? The only one who gives up when she knows the browsing experience will be so full of frustration that it’s best to avoid it altogether? The only one who gets pissed off when its so damn obvious that the site owner cares more about maximizing ad space — and revenue, I assume — than building a solid base of regular visitors?

Does anyone actually click those freaking ads?

I admit it: I hate website ads so much that I installed ad blocker software on my laptops and desktop computer. I don’t usually see ads at all — which doesn’t really matter because I never click them. It’s only when I use my iPad to visit sites that I’m bombarded with this crap. Honestly: I don’t know how anyone can stand it.

And yes, I do realize that many sites exist solely to make a profit. And yes, I do realize that advertising is the usual way to monetize a site. But no, I can’t imagine trashing up a site so badly with ads that it drives potential visitors away.

Isn’t there a better solution? One that provides links to products and services that might actually be of interest to visitors? One that’s accessible and visible without flashing colors and animated graphics?

Who are these sites designed for, anyway?

Spam from a Wannabe Guest Blogger

You have to know how to read before you can write.

Today, I received the following e-mail message, sent to me via my blog’s content form:

Subject: Guest Blog Post on Tech Gadgets

Message Body:

My name is [redacted], and I found your blog on a consumer electronic blogroll.

I would love to contribute to your blog by being a guest writer and focusing specifically on technology gadgets. Getting the best deal on tech gadgets like TVs, computers, or smartphones takes some serious strategy. We all know that products like the iPhone get launched at $500 and, within a few months, sell for nearly half the price, but do all electronic goods follow this pattern? When’s the best time to buy? This article gives you the insider secrets, so you can get your gadgets at rock bottom prices.

Are you interested in my writing an article for you?

Thank you for your time and best regards,


Blog Content Guild – 1015 Bee Caves Woods Dr, Suite 102 – Austin, TX 78746

About the Blog Content Guild:
The Blog Content Guild is an organization that provides blog writers with the opportunity to make a living writing about products and services. The writers then work to place their writing on other blog sites that are relevant to those product and service offerings.

(Please let me know if you don’t want to receive any more emails from me or others at the Blog Content Guild.)

PS – I love your website aneclecticmind.com

Screen Door by CharlieUnderstand that I’m in a foul mood this afternoon. I went out to run a few errands, leaving our new dog, Charlie, in the condo’s small walled-in patio. When I returned 40 minutes later, he greeted me in the parking lot. He had escaped by tearing down some metal mesh and squeezing through the back gate. He then tried to get back into the apartment through the screen security door, tearing the screen to shreds from the outside.

So getting a request from someone wanting to be a guest blogger really pissed me off a lot more than it normally might have.

Why would it piss me off at all? Well, he contacted me using the form on my Contact page. And that page has a section with a heading that says:

Guest Bloggers

This is a personal blog. It does not accept guest posts.

What’s more is that the first paragraph under the Contact Form heading says:

First, read the above. All of it.

So this clown used a form on a page that says I don’t accept guest posts to ask me if I would accept his guest post.

I guess when you’re spamming every blogger who you can find a contact method for, it doesn’t really matter whether you a get clear indication in advance that your request won’t get a positive response. After all, spam is spam. Does it really matter whether you target the right audience?

Of course, I just had to see what Blog Content Guild was, so I looked it up. The first item on a numbered list on their home page explains what they do:

We work on behalf of companies who want to increase the buzz in the blogosphere

In other words, advertisers pay them and their bloggers to write blog posts about their products. They basically sell advertisements disguised as objective advice or product review blog posts — just the kind of misleading crap people with low moral standards are willing to publish to turn a buck.

I composed a typically nasty response:

Wow! You’ve already amazed me with your complete inability to read; I don’t have very high expectations about your ability to research and write intelligently about a topic. But then again, writing original, objective content is probably not something folks at Blog Content Guild do.

Maybe if you would have read the information on the Contact page where you found the form you used to contact me, you’d see why you’re not likely to ever write a post on my blog.

But then again, I’m sure your query to me was just one of dozens you fired out to the blogosphere today. Spam, pure and simple. I’m sure you spend more of your time composing and sending spam than writing actual content.

I didn’t send it. I figured that if he really loved my website so much, he’d see it here when he returned to read the latest new content.

Or not.