Well now we know who the boss is. Facebook has shut down a real estate business page with 47,000 plus members giving zero notice to the page owner, Jonathan Rivera. The Official Real Estate Referral Group is a community that Jon started almost 2 years ago and had just crossed the 47,000 fan mark making it one of the largest real estate related pages on Facebook. The goal of the page was to connect like minded real estate agents who were looking to grow their business via referrals and social media. Simply put, you meet a buyer or seller looking in another market and you can shout out to the page that you need another agent to handle the deal. Jon had created over 1400 opportunities for agents in the last 18 months and more importantly has put countless time, energy and resources into moderating such a large page.
The controversy is related to the vanity URL that Jon chose when first setting up the page. Once a Facebook Page has 25 fans the admin can go to Facebook.com/Username and secure a custom or vanity URL. When Jon did this 2 years ago he choose Facebook.com/socialrealtors. This is indeed improper use of the trademarked word Realtor so The National Association of Realtors or NAR reached out to Jon about changing the URL. After several failed attempts to get Facebook to change the ending or at the least just remove any vanity ending, they instead this morning took the page away without notice!
The NAR trademark office has emailed Facebook directly stating that it wasn’t their intention to break up the popular group, just to have the URL reworked so that it would be NAR approved. As opposed to allowing a simple change to the URL they shut the lights off without warning?
This is a close to home example that Facebook has total control over their network and can hit buttons that make your hard work and community vanish, literally over night and without warning. Make sure your social media presence is weather proof and always secure email addresses when possible.
Please help Jon out by sharing this post and helping spread the word about this story. If they can hit a button and make it go away we are fairly confident they could hit another to make it reappear with a new compliant URL. The more people that read and share this post the better the chances are that their decision could be reversed. Thanks guys!