Should I Be A Fan Of Sequoia If It's Not Really Their Page?

You don’t need to be Union Square Ventures to create the Union Square Ventures page on facebook. Fortunately I was the one who created it and so it’s a non issue.

It turns out that the Sequoia page I linked  to yesterday wasn’t created by Sequoia. I thought that might be the case when I looked at it, but I needed the hook for my post yesterday so I went with the link anway. They have gone from 4 fans to 224 fans in one day. I think that speaks to the value of their brand and the power of a link on AVC!

The Sequoia page was created by a guy named Peter and his friend Sam created the Kleiner Perkins page. Sam’s been creating pages for brands like Ralph Lauren and the tv show 24.

What is someone to make of these "bogus" company pages? Should Facebook take them down? Or should the rightful owner be able to claim them as their own (if they want to)?

This reminds me of the early domain name wars when brands woke up and found out that the .com domain name for their brand was owned and operated by someone they had no relationship with. They then had to sue and/or buy the domains.

This will be easier since Facebook owns the name space inside Facebook and can easily sort out these issues. But Sequoia and KP should wake up and grab their fan pages before the people who are operating them do something with them that’s not to their liking.

Should we all undo our fandom of Sequioa? Not yet. Hopefully they’ll claim their page and we can be fans of the real firm.

And while I am on the subject of  what Facebook needs to do with business pages, I’d like them to add  Notes to the business pages so we can import the Union Square Ventures blog into our facebook page like I do with this blog on my personal profile. Lot’s of businesses have blogs these days and they will surely want a way to easily publish them into Facebook.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. ceonyc

    Facebook squatters!

  2. Fred S

    I don’t see this problem as ending anytime soon – but then I’m not sure how big a deal it will be as it’s likely 98% of these pages will never gain much traction. Madden 2009 might gain a hundred thousand fans, but they’re the outlier.This problem sort of replicates from groups. Since search isn’t really sane in FB, and you can’t browse the landscape of FB as you can the web, groups fragment. Rather than having 1 Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama group, there are 500, with separate audiences. This devalues the group’s power, but one might wonder how valuable the groups are in the first place.As it is now, the consumer mainly sees these brand pages as bumper stickers; its unlikely that people will care if their bumper sticker is official or not. Coke looks the same in 10 point arial, official or not. I also doubt that Facebook will be proactive about intervention. These brand pages present another venue for clicks and pageviews, which is something Facebook is aggressively trying to stimulate as its audience is overwhelmed by spam and useless information.

  3. vanelsas

    Wait a minute Fred! Are you saying that not everyone appears to be who they are on Facebook? What about the advertisement money I’m spending on finding targeted consumers? 😉

  4. crawford

    Your point about brand stewardship is most important from my vantage point. As a brand developer, you have to realize and accept that you can’t control both sides of the brand conversation, but you can and should be able to choose where you engage. Kidnapping and hostage taking are wrong no matter if it’s an individual or a brand persona.

    1. crawford

      No longer a fan of Fake Seq’s (still a fan of Fake Sex).

  5. Greg

    I recall a recent post of your in which you said that you don’t “favorite” music. So I’m not sure why you’d bother actively declaring yourself a fan of anything on Facebook, especially on something that seems doomed to stagnation like these fan pages. On the other hand, as you well know, stating your preferences through actions — listening to, writing a review on Flixster — brings its own rewards. FB’s fan pages, though, leave me cold.

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t favorite music for myself. But I do favorite it in the hypemachine which allows others to see what I favoriteFred

  6. narnia

    Of course you should be a “fan” of Sequoia. Whether they created the page or not, you’re still just showing your support for their effort. Being that these pages, avatars and identities are mere representations of you (and not you exactly), you shouldn’t feel any discomfort in “friending” a page created by someone else. Its *still* just a representation. That’s why I love the idea of claiming these pages… someone else has taken their fandom to the next level by creating something for you, and its your job to validate that sentiment by first claiming, then maintaining that page — legitimizing the relationship between signifier and signified.

  7. Sam

    Hey Fred, thanks for bringing this to people’s attention. You can just add the Simply RSS Application to your USV page to import a feed (as long as you are okay with the terms). Otherwise, yes, notes would be a great feature.”Facebook squatters” – I don’t think so Charlie! I have been completely transparent about creating these pages as part of an experiment. I am willing to give them back over to Fox, Kleiner, or Polo although these brands could also create their own pages. Indeed there could be 5-10 Kleiner Perkins variations and it would be the job of the discerning fan to pick appropriately (or Facebook could add authentication). I have a vested interest in playing around with such new features on Facebook and will continue to do so and in the case of Patagonia, I really am a big fan and I want them represented on thefacebook.Sam

    1. Darren Herman

      Facebook squatters :)As a consumer, I wouldn’t know if Sequoia created their Facebook page, at least right now. When I wrote the post on my blog last night featuring Sequoia’s FB page, I had no idea Sam created it. ( long as the page is authentic, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band and there are some fans who do amazing things for the community. Doesn’t matter if DMB endorses it or not, but as long as these fans are doing good for the community and are authentic, I’ll read their DMB blogs, listen to DMB Radio, and watch the DMB podcasts.I can see a “squatting” issue happening if the owner of these pages were using them to monetarily benefit off the goodwill of the brand. If he’s willing to surrender them or they outsource the maintenance of the pages, then Sam can benefit highly.

  8. Clay

    RE: Adding your blog posts… add the Simply RSS app just like the Sequoia page and add your blog’s RSS feed…

    1. fredwilson

      just did that. USV’s blog posts are now on our facebook page. i feel better now. thanksfred

  9. billerickson

    At the Facebok Developer’s Garage in Dallas I talked with Dave Morin about this (he’s the Senior Platform Manager at Facebook). He said that if someone creates a page for a brand they don’t control, and that brand wants it, they can take control of that page. But unofficially they actually want people to create pages for brands they don’t control. What they really want is users creating pages for things like their favorite restaurants in town. The restaurants themselves probably don’t use facebook or know about the ability to make a page on it, so its customers will do it for them.

  10. howardr

    I think it was a smart idea for Peter and Sam. Even if facebook gives away control of these pages, Peter and Sam got some press where they would other get none.

  11. Peter Corbett

    Hi Fred,You got me! I was hoping to remain stealth for a little while longer as I collected data for an analysis on Facebook Pages I was preparing, but Sam’s post obviously outed me and so I had to respond sooner than I had hoped. So, you can read a bit more about the Sequoia Capital page experiment and based on the fact that all but 13 of the 270 or so fans came from A VC, you’ll see some deeper demographic insights into your blog readership. Here’s the link:…Take care,-a guy named Peter

  12. Sam

    Peter – Since I love to debate, I wanted to point out that the ~257 fans you suggest joined the Sequoia page as a result of the Fred’s link could be misleading. The primary way that the people learn of a FB Page is by seeing a friend of theirs who also added the Page (populates to the feed). It stands to reason that a friend seeing another friend become a fan of a particular page greatly increases the odds that that person will also ‘fan’ the Page since people tend to do what their friends do. Facebook is viral like that.Thus, while highly unlikely, it is theoretically possible that Fred’s post could have resulted in only 1 Facebook member directly becoming a fan of the Sequoia Page. However, that one notification then goes into the feeds of say 20 people, two of which also add it, which then goes into the feeds of 10 more people…yada, yada, network effect.I’m sure Fred’s post in responsible for the good number of the 259 new Sequoia members, but just wanted to point out that all 257 may not be A VC readers.- Peter’s Friend Sam 🙂

  13. Laurent Kretz

    Maybe not so many squatters ?”Note: Facebook Pages may only be used to represent real entities. Fake Pages will be reported and disabled. If you create a fake Page or violate our Terms in any way, your Facebook account may be disabled.”But as Bill says, this is certainly just a “cover your a**” from FaceBook, as I would totally understand the will to see the pages (fake or real) multiply.

  14. ddavison

    your business pages notes idea is a good one. Businesses WILL want a way to publish their blogs into Facebook.

  15. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    Thanks for the post. I finally set up a Facebook account a week or so ago and was going to figure out how to do a company site but after seeing this post, I went ahead and set it up with some help from Lee Aase, a facebook blogger. Not that anyone would want to spend their time creating a site for Babble Soft, since we are hardly known, (yet!). I also became a fan of the Union Square Ventures page. There are a lot of neat things about facebook, but I, for one, don’t find it to be very intuitive on how to set certain things up. I just installed Simply RSS and was able to import some feeds into my personal profile and based on comments by Sam and others it looks like I have to install it again on the company page. Good to know.