Facebook Shuts Down Page with over 47,000 Fans over Vanity URL

A Facebook Page, run by Jonathan Rivera was recently shut down by Facebook due to a complaint of the use of the vanity URL and the use of the trademarked term REALTOR®.  He had been made aware of the violation after selecting his vanity URL, but as Facebook’s guidelines state: “You will not be able to edit or transfer this username once you set it.” The irony of this story is that when Jonathan was made aware of the violation he tried to reach out & contact Facebook to correct it, but was unable to do so. He tried desperately to be in compliance with NAR rules & regulations.  Instead of Facebook allowing him to fix the username, they instead shut down the Real Estate Referral Page completely leaving a network of over 47,000 fans without a home.

This network was not only another fun page on Facebook, but also as he stated in the interview I recently heard, a good source of referrals having delivered over 1,400 referrals around the country to agents for free.

This is just once again another reason why it is important to know what laws & trademarks exist before picking a username, a web address or anything.  It will be interesting to see what happens with this as things move forward.  Jonathan has been working diligently to get the page reinstated, and from his interview with Techsavvy Agent, NAR was being agreeable in him keeping the page as long as the username gets changed.

Only time will tell what happens with this.  One thing I surely learned from this is that I will definitely think twice before selecting the next vanity URL for a Facebook Page.

Jeremy Blanton

Jeremy Blanton is the Co-Founder of 210 Consulting- Social Media Advisors. He is a social media speaker who shares with thousands of people each year on things like how to use Facebook for Business, Blogging, and How to use Twitter.

When he is not coaching or speaking, he spends most of his time working on Custom WordPress Sites for his clients.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Pinterest - Google Plus - Flickr - YouTube

  • As much as I hate to see any page go away I have always believed the responsibility is on the owner.
    Sorry to see this happen and I think we’ll be seeing much much more of this in the future – sad to say.

  • marianne

    i also had a page wherein i unknowingly used realtor in it’s title. i was contacted by a rep from the realtor organization and told i was in violation. i had just asked all my friends to like the page, and had to delete it as i was told there was no mechanism for fb to rename it.

    very frustrating.

  • Mike, I would have to agree with you 100%.

    Marianne- I am sorry to hear about this. Luckily you didn’t have 47,000 fans when it happened!

  • Jeremy:
    I’ve been trying to tell people about this. I knew it was coming, and agree with Mike, we will see more of this in the future. So does 210 Consulting help people with social media strategies and set up of Facebook pages?
    Thank Goodness I am connected to people like you who teach me so much, and I have avoided such costly mistakes so far!

  • Thanks for this great information Mike. This story reminds me of a seminar where a “social media expert” working for the latest flavor if the month company here in Phoenix told a room of 100 business owners that they no longer need a website…..”you can do all your business on your facebook fanpage”. I wanted to scream with everything in me that this guy is obviously ignorant…. This story makes the point-violate facebooks terms of service and you, your business and likely your livelihood will be shut down too. Note to everyone-don’t build your whole business on something you don’t own. Thanks Mike.

  • Debbie- Yes, we do teach strategies with Facebook pages & creating one properly. We also partner up with the Facebook Guru, Mike Mueller to help people build the most effective, most powerful Facebook Page properly.

    MyTitleGuy- Ugh, you have to have a place to send them to besides just Facebook as the search engines aren’t going to index you for all your search terms if you are only using a Facebook Page. You lose so much potential!

  • In case anyone coming by to read this was wondering what the rules are on use of the term REALTOR® here you go: http://www.realtor.org/letterlw.nsf/pages/trademarklogorules

    Also, here is a video with a better explanation: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1465406675?bctid=104611061001

  • It would seem, in hindsight, he should have just started a new site when he was initially contacted. Be that as it may, I’ll be surprised if FB gives in.

  • Jeremy,
    I hate to see that happen to anyone but we all know the rules and if any of the rest of us had used the word in our vanity URL, then we too would probably be losing a fan base of that size.

  • @Jeremy I actually learned something today. That video needs to be everywhere. Thanks

  • I can’t believe it, but it does appear that Facebook reinstated the page and allowed the vanity URL to be changed: http://www.facebook.com/RealEstateReferralGroup. I can just see the can of worms this could open for the future.

  • Pingback: Why You Need a Custom WordPress Site | 210 Consulting- Social Media Advisors()