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Start-up says 80% of its Facebook ad clicks came from bots

July 30, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Limited Run, a start-up, said its own analysis showed 80% of its Facebook ad clicks came from bots.
Limited Run, a start-up, said its own analysis showed 80% of its Facebook… (Facebook )

A start-up company said it's leaving Facebook because 80% of its ad clicks are coming from bots.

Musician site Limited Run said Facebook also won't let it change its Pages name unless it commits to buy $2,000 in advertsing on the social network per month.

Limited Run said it plans to delete its Facebook page because only 20% of the ad clicks it gets come from Facebook users. The rest come from bots, or web robots, which are software programs that run automated tasks quickly.

The company, which goes by its Limited Pressing on Facebook, said it used six analytic services and its own analysis to find out discovered that bots make most of the ad clicks.

"Unfortunately, while testing their ad system, we noticed some very strange things," the company said in a note. "Facebook was charging us for clicks, yet we could only verify about 20% of them actually showing up on our site."

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In a Facebook status post as well as a blog posted Monday, Limited Run said it built its own analytics program, which found that 80% of its ad clicks were coming from users with JavaScript turned off, which makes it difficult for analytics software to verify clicks. The company added that in its staff's experience, only about 1% to 2% of clicks typically come with JavaScript turned off.

As a result, the company built a page logger on its site, and that led the company to find that all those clicks were coming from bots.

Co-founder Tom Mango told the Los Angeles Times that the bot clicks alone weren't the only reason Limited Run is leaving Facebook. He said it's also because Facebook is unwilling to change Limited Run's Pages name without the start-up committing to buy $2,000 for advertising space on Facebook each month.

"They said they would allow us to change our name," the company wrote in the note. "NICE! But only if we agreed to spend $2000 or more in advertising a month. That's correct. Facebook was holding our name hostage."

Mango said Limited Run, which is a hosted store platform for musicians, is tired of Facebook and will concentrate its social media efforts on its Twitter page instead and its advertisement efforts on Google.

"We just don't want to deal with Facebook anymore," he said. 

And it appears Limited Run may not be alone regarding ad bot clicks. Another user commented on the Facebook status and said his Pages has had a similar experience, although he said his analysis points toward 70% bot clicks. Others on the post are asking Limited Run to make another post with more details regarding how it found its statistics.

As for Facebook, Mango said he has yet to hear anything else from the company since it told Limited Run that it would cost $2,000 per month in ads to change its Facebook Pages name.

I've also contacted Facebook and will post an update if we hear back.

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