It’s easy and free to create a Facebook page for your business. You might be surprised to find out that there exists a black market in which you can buy a page already associated with someone else’s brand.
At first glance, this doesn’t make sense. The point of creating a page on Facebook is to build your business with your information and, well, your address. So, what is there to gain from using an account someone else created?
Once you become the owner of a Facebook page, you can change virtually everything. Not just the name and URL, but the photos and address and everything else. The main benefit to buying ownership of a page is to get access to the fanbase. In other words, those who have already liked the page.
Nothing in this realm is guaranteed, but an audience of 5000 sounds better than the number zero. The social validation of having a crowd interested in your business is the reason behind why many people go to extreme lengths to boost that number. Also, more directly, some of those people might be potential customers.
In rare cases, someone might buy controlled ownership of a Facebook page and not change the branding. They will share advertisements for unrelated products as posts in the hopes of earning a profit. This only works when the audience is massive and the brand is somewhat well-recognized. This sounds like some type of scam, but it actually happened to the rapper Nas’ Facebook page a few years ago. I’m not sure if that was ever documented, but whoever from his team inked that deal must be a massive bozo.
In a more recent example, in high school I must have liked an unofficial Facebook page for Hot New Hip Hop, the rap news site. Earlier this year, I noticed that it had been commandeered by a rapper named Prolifikk. How did I notice this? He started posting before doing the full overhaul, so it was still obvious that it was the HNHH duplicate page. The real page has almost one million followers.
Mr. Prolifikk, true to his name, has been prolific in his posting. However, the engagement on the posts has been awful, presumably because a page created in 2009 doesn’t have many dedicated fans remaining.
The question is, how did the rapper take over the page and has his investment paid off? I’ve been monitoring his social media accounts and I can tell you that the fanbase that he hijacked has had no meaningful effect on his metrics anywhere on the internet. We don’t know if he paid $50 or $500 or even if he himself was the one who started the page in 2009. He could have purchased it from a friend or found it on some shady marketplace, the latter of which strikes me as quite implausible.
When you identify a need to establish a presence on Facebook, do it the old fashioned way. Create your own page. There’s no evidence anywhere that buying an aged page or a page with a lot of followers will boost your business in any meaningful way. To the contrary, there’s no way to secure your transaction and you might find that any active existing followers express frustration after you try to pull off the facelift.
If you ever have any doubt, just check the page transparency tab!