August 1, 2012
New York-based online music startup Limited Run has ditched Facebook after its research revealed an alleged advertising scam. The company claims that 80 percent of its online ad clicks on Facebook were generated from automated ‘bots,’ not humans.
While testing Facebook’s advertising system, Limited Run said it could only verify that around 20 percent of the clicks were coming from users visiting its website.
Facebook’s advertising rates are based on the number of clicks a company’s ads receive. Limited Run alleges that the ads were not clicked by real individuals, but rather by automated bots – internet software applications programmed to repeat automated tasks.
“80% of the clicks we were paying for were from bots,” the company said in a post on its Facebook page. “That’s correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs. So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t reply. Do we know who the bots belong to? No. Are we accusing Facebook of using bots to drive up advertising revenue. No. Is it strange? Yes.”
The company, formerly known as Limited Pressing, also claimed that the social media giant would not allow it to change the name of its Facebook page unless it committed to buy $2,000 of monthly advertising. “Facebook was holding our name hostage,” the post said.
Facebook responded to the accusations: “We’re currently investigating their claims. For their issue with the page name change, there seems to be some sort of miscommunication. We do not charge pages to have their names changed. Our team is reaching out about this now,” Talking Points Memo reported.