Facebook has temporarily blocked some dating sites from advertising on the site if they are new to the social network, the company tells Business Insider. According to an email from the Facebook ad sales force to a frustrated ad client, the dating sites won't be able to advertise on Facebook until after Valentine's Day.
Kyle McGinnis, the CEO of one of the blocked dating sites, says his ads ran for months on Facebook and were only recently bumped from the site.
Facebook confirmed the temporary ban on new dating ads to Business Insider, saying users had complained about seeing too many of them:
We recently updated our policy to require human review for ads for online dating services. We got a lot of negative feedback from people about many of these ads, and in some cases they violated various policies. To keep the quality of ads on Facebook high, we are not currently accepting new online dating advertisers.
But McGinnis, who runs HiDine, a dating site for people who like restaurants, believes Facebook is biased in favor of bigger dating sites with larger ad budgets. HiDine said in a press release:
By giving preference to bigger dating sites that can pay more for ad space, Facebook is edging out smaller competitors. For months before the holidays, McGinnis had multiple ads running on the social network. Suddenly, Facebook stopped accepting payment and disapproved previously-approved ads.
"I am deeply disappointed in Facebook's decision. I'm not sure how or why my status as an approved advertiser was changed. I'm also sorry to hear they can accept new partners only after Valentine's Day," said McGinnis.
McGinnis says he had been running ads for HiDine on Facebook for a while, but only recently was rejected. When he complained, just before Christmas, he received an email from Facebook that said, "... you must have prior authorization from Facebook in order to buy dating ads on Facebook. We are not currently accepting new partners at this time, but we expect to open applications for new advertisers by February 15, 2014." (See the full text of the emails below.)
Feb. 15 is, of course, about 24 hours too late for any dating site worth its salt.
Part of the problem here is that Facebook is very sensitive to complaints from its users. Although anyone can advertise on Facebook, the company wants those ads to be as useful and relevant as possible. It's also struggling with ad "load," meaning that it doesn't want to overwhelm users with too many ads.
The policy appears to imply that facebook will only accept ads from dating sites that come through Facebook's ad sales team, and not through campaigns bought via Facebook's automated plug-and-play Ads API system, which only requires a credit card.
Here's the banned HiDine ad:
Here are the emails between HiDine and Facebook:
Subject: Why wasn't my ad approved?
What was your ad disapproved for?: image
Please describe your question related to your ad that wasn't approved: I have been using these ads for months and I think this is a mistake that they are being disapproved at this time. I have several campaigns going with these images so please let me know how I can get them approved. Thank you!
Please paste the URL of the ad that wasn't approved below: [REDACTED]
Email Address: kyle.mcginnis@[REDACTED].com
Please submit the email/notification you received about why the ad wasn't approved: facebook
One or more of the ads you set up do not meet our guidelines and has been disapproved.
Please check your Ads Manager and edit any ads that have been disapproved. You will only pay for any actual impressions or clicks your ad receives.
HiDine - dating for foodies!
The exclusive dating site for foodies where women are taken out to their favorite restaura...
It looks like you submitted an ad for a dating service through one of our self-service advertising tools.
Unfortunately, ads for dating sites and apps are only allowed from approved advertisers at this time.
If you’ve read the guidelines in the Help Center and think your ad follows the rules and should have been approved, please let us know.
If you'd like to advertise your dating service on Facebook, please follow this link to learn more.
The Facebook Ads Team
From: The Facebook Ads Team
Date: Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 3:08 AM
Subject: Re: Why wasn't my ad approved?
We've recently updated our Advertising Guidelines for dating sites and apps.
To ensure a positive experience for everyone on Facebook, ads for dating sites and apps are only allowed from approved advertisers through a direct sales partnership. We hope this change will help encourage greater accountability and maintain the quality of dating-related advertising on Facebook.
This means that you must have prior authorization from Facebook in order to buy dating ads on Facebook. We are not currently accepting new partners at this time, but we expect to open applications for new advertisers by February 15, 2014.
Facebook Ads Team
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