If you’re a member of the endangered species that is Facebook’s waning user base, you’re probably used to getting bombarded with ads for bizarre, niche dating sites you’d never frequent, like FarmersOnly or SaladMatch or SeaCaptainDate.com. If so, good news: Facebook has decided to temporarily suspend all advertising from dating sites until Valentine’s Day, thanks to user complaints that the ads cluttered their News Feeds.
According to a statement from a Facebook spokesperson, the website has updated their advertising policy to require “human review” for dating site ads until February 15, 24 hours after the biggest boon day for dating site advertisers.
“Overall, this is 100-percent about monitoring the quality of ads people see on Facebook,” Facebook rep Tim Rathschmidt told the Daily Dot. “With ad guidelines like this, we’re focused on the benefits for users—to make sure people aren’t seeing spammy ads.
We’re not revisiting the ad guidelines or opening them up after V day—we’re just not bringing on any new dating ad partners until after the heavy season (which is December through February) because this is the time when most dating ads run, and with our focus on quality, we need to limit them.”
Rathschmidt also noted that if a dating site or app would like to advertise on Facebook, they’ll need to formally request that a member of the Facebook sales team support their account.
To those of us creaky and doddering olds who actually still use Facebook, this new policy, however temporary, sounds great: rarely has there been a time when I’ve logged on to Facebook and not been greeted with at least a dozen ads for dating websites. Because Facebook is notorious for its targeted advertising, the continued presence of ads for sites like AshleyMadison.com (which matches up adulterous people in relationships) and STDMatch.net (self-explanatory) on my feed has always been somewhat perplexing, not to mention borderline offensive. So a little early spring cleaning on Facebook’s ad team’s part sounds like a swell idea.
Of course, there’s one group of people who aren’t too happy with the change in Facebook’s policy: the dating site advertisers themselves, one of whom, Kyle McGinnis, has accused Facebook of discriminating against smaller dating sites.
The CEO of HiDine.com, described as “a dating service for people who like restaurants” (as in, um, EVERYBODY), McGinnis issued a press release criticizing Facebook’s new policy after one of his website’s ads was banned by an admin:
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.
In an email exchange with a member of the Facebook ads team, McGinnis was told that Facebook is only accepting ads from “approved advertisers with a direct sales partnership” at this time, rather than those bought through Facebook’s automated API ads system.
H/T Business Insider | Photo: Flickr, Dan Gaken