Parting Thoughts

Is Facebook Ready for Business?

Posted 20 June 2009

I’ve been working lately on creating a Facebook presence for my company, Webvanta. It’s been a somewhat painful experience. You can see the primitive results so far.

Facebook has “pages” for businesses, which are like profiles, but for non-humans. This seems like a good idea, but they’re missing some core features to support the way businesses work.

For example, it appears to be impossible to remove the person who originally created the page as an admin. So if someone creates your Facebook page and then leaves the company, well, too bad, they still have access to modify the page.

I’m not alone in this concern. There’s a discussion thread on this issue in their so-called help that has posts by 73 people, going back two and half months, all struggling with this problem. No one from Facebook has replied, and no one has proposed a fix.

There’s plenty of other ugly corners. When I try to change the profile image for the Webvanta page, for example, it takes me to the profile picture for my personal page.

Because we have less than 1,000 fans, we can’t get a vanity URL, so the URL for our page is the lovely (For my personal page, I was able to get

Facebook clearly has lots of work left to do before they’re really ready for businesses. But with more than 200 million users, they have their hands full, and they’re riding a tidal wave, so I doubt they’re worrying about it too much. And, of course, there’s no way to actually contact anyone and get a question answered.

The platform is full of awkward bits like this, and I’d like to say that someone will step in and do a better job and displace them, but the reality is that they have reached critical mass in terms of user adoption, and the vast number of people on Facebook is going to make it very hard to displace. As a business, if you want to participate in social marketing, you need to go where the people are, so you really have no choice about whether to go elsewhere.

My request for Facebook: please charge me $100/year for having a business page, and use that money to provide appropriate features and a support line. Or take some of that $200 million you just got from the Russian investors and use it to provide better support.