Questions Raised about “Like-gating” on Facebook

facebook 150x150 Questions Raised about Like gating on FacebookWhen I visit the Facebook page of a business or organization for the first time, one thing I look for is the number of “Likes”. The higher the number, the more popular the site appears to be. That apparent popularity can make the site more appealing, sending a message that the site is worthwhile. If so many others have “Liked” the page, maybe I’ll want to “Like” it too. 

To get more “Likes”, many businesses make special offers to those who “Like” the page. This is known as “like-gating,” the Boston Business Journal reports. Businesses are giving away ”freebies and deep discounts in hopes of getting you — the consumer — to click that rectangular ‘thumbs up’ button,” the article notes.

Now the Better Business Bureau is taking a look at all those “Likes”. The BBB has always worked for truth in advertising, and these days, that means online advertising too. In this case, the BBB’s National Advertising Division (NAD) raised questions about “Likes” on businesses’ Facebook pages.

Coastal Contacts Inc., a contact lens company, claimed that if a consumer liked the business’s Facebook page, the consumer would get a free pair of glasses. Coastal Contacts’ original promotion read, “Like This Page! … So you too can get your free pair of glasses!”

“Although additional terms and conditions applied to this offer,” NAD noted, “this information was not available to consumers until after they entered the promotion by ‘liking’ the advertiser’s Facebook page.”  

NAD recommended that Coastal Contacts, in future advertising, provide a clear and conspicuous explanation of the additional terms and conditions at the outset of any promotional offer of “free” merchandise.

The National Advertising Division ”is trying to instill some caution in advertisers who run ‘like-gating’ campaigns,” the article says.

“NAD also said it was generally concerned that ’Likes’ on a business’s Facebook page could give the impression that consumers like the brand, when it may simply mean that they ‘Liked’ the company to get a free product or enter a sweepstakes,” the article reports.

Now that I know more about “like-gating,” I’m likely to be a little more skeptical of the number of “Likes” on some business and organization Facebook pages. Have you seen claims on a business or organizaiton Facebook page that made you wonder if the claims were true?

If you spot advertising that you feel is false, misleading or deceptive, you can report it to your BBB. Start at http://www.bbb.org/.

Read the full article from the Boston Business Journal here: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/bottom_line/2011/11/facebook-like-gating.html

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About Jeannette Kopko

As the spokesperson for BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas, I give information that’s useful to consumers and businesses. A Dallas native and lifelong fan of the State Fair of Texas, I want to help keep Big D a great place to live.