If you have a business fan page on Facebook and have been considering hopping on the Facebook Places bandwagon, there’s something you should know. Associating your fan page to a “place” will completely change the layout of your fan page.

AllFacebook.Com published an article back in August about how Facebook fan page managers can create or claim their physical location “place”, but they didn’t put a lot of emphasis on what claiming that address does to your fan page.

According to the AllFacebook.Com article, the process is a quick three-parter:

  • Step 1: Create or claim your place
  • Step 2: Claim the place as yours
  • Step 3: Merge your place and your page

They even show you screenshots of what your page will look like afterwards, but unless you’re paying attention, it might be easy to gloss over that part.

Before you associate your Facebook fan page to a place, your tabs look something like this along the top:

After you associate your fan page to a place, the tabs disappear from the top and are moved, inelegantly at best, to the left-side rail, like this:

This looks particularly ugly if you use a lot of Static FBML tabs, since the tab’s app icon is used in that left-rail navigation.

If you’ve been using Facebook places for your fan page for a while, this is nothing new to you. If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to associate a physical place with your fan page, make sure you consider the layout changes in your decision. Facebook apparently has a no-backsies policy on this, and since they don’t make it a point to warn page owners that this will bonk their layout, it has caused some distress.

There is a petition going around to ask Facebook to change this, but anyone who has worked with Facebook for more than 5 minutes knows that probably won’t help. Based on the screenshots from August. this issue has been a problem since then, and Facebook has done nothing to try to correct the issue since, so I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

Big thanks to Ryan Dean of the Wadsworth Public Library for bringing this layout change to our attention.

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Iā€™m a tech geek/dev/infosec-nerd/scuba diver/blacksmith/sword-fighter/crime fighter/ENTP/warcrafter/activist. I'm the CTO at Mass Mosaic and the CEO of Grokability, Inc. in San Diego, CA. Tweet at me @snipeyhead or read more...

  • nice post…

  • Thanks for this post. An ambitious client linked her place & biz page today and now it’s all jacked up. Why isn’t anyone else talking about this? So annoying that I can’t even make the FBML her default landing page anymore!

  • facebook friendship pages and places look very much alike, we might see a change in business pages as well…

  • I see the problems this could cause. But there is some good to this! I work with some small business owners who operate a FB page, but really don’t have any customization or FBML tabs. They just use it to send out updates, post pictures, etc. and have little interest or knowledge to do much more than the bare minimum. For someone like this, merging their page and place gives them much more capability, and simplifies everything into one place.

    It does still have the ‘new’ layout, but this is something users will grow accustomed to, since everything on facebook seems to be moving in this direction (i.e. the new ‘profiles).

    • I’m sorry, but I don’t actually see how the extent that a brand leverages their facebook page should impact its layout with no warning. Whether your brand is using it with custom tabs or not at all, a preview would have been nice. It’s shitty policy to surprise someone that way, wrecking the layout of a page they may have spent quite a bit of time and money on. It was a poor decision on Facebook’s part any way you look at it.

      • I think you may have misunderstood what I was saying..I think we would all agree that the fact that there is no warning or preview about the layout change is not a great policy. The changes that the switch causes are substantial and the user should be warned about this (as facebook has done with other layout changes in the past).

        I am simply stating that knowingly and purposefully switching to the new layout can be a positive thing for certain types of users, particularly those who have very little knowledge of facebook and fbml.

      • I would not agree that it’s a positive thing. A less-negative thing, perhaps, but not a positive thing.

      • I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree then. It is definitely going to be good for some of the people I work with, doing this will give their page some sort of purpose (since I can barely get them to post anything.)

        Great blog you’ve got, though. Thanks for posting.

  • Update: I believe there is now the option to ‘unmerge’ pages and place pages. Should be on the bottom left right where the ‘Merge’ option was previously listed.

    • Excellent – thanks so much for taking the time to post!

  • Talk about being side swiped. I did a post on it of how it took me bu surprise. I then had to go back and create another fan page. Now a company who I manage has a places and a fan page. It’s a joke what FB did.
    http://kyleclouse.com/facebook-fan-page-layout-change-necessary/

  • I just recently tried, and it’s still barfing on the head and title tags, so I don’t think this has been implemented yet. FB’s official stance on it is “Q1”, so they’re not actually past deadline yet, but it doesn’t seem to be implemented yet.

  • Mike Key

    What’s worse is facebook is considering doing away with the static FBML app.

  • I just started working on a client’s Fan page, only to find out they had started with a Places Page. So, naturally, when I saw the option to merge with a Fan Page, I created a new Fan Page and merged them, which, of course, destroyed the beautiful layout my designer had meticulously put together for us.

    That is when I discovered an option to un-merge the accounts. When I did, I promptly deleted the Places page, and the day was saved.

    So, it seems FB has corrected this issue with the ability to un-merge. Sorry, too lazy to go back and locate the link.

    Great site BTW. Been reading snipe.net for great tutorials, and very excited by the new site.

    • Hi Scott – that’s great news – thanks so much for the kind words, and for taking the time to give us an update!

      • FYI, I just took the new “Upgrade” preview, it also appears to resize the content area for static FBML. Using MeasureIt, it looks like the new content area is about 490px wide.

        I suggest taking the preview and seeing what it does to your layout before applying the upgrade.

        Wondering if the upgrade will eventually be forced on us, and we should start planning to redesign our customer’s pages?

      • You’re right on that – I clocked about 490px myself when I used it earlier today. This change is mandatory, unfortunately. Pages just got their redesign today, and all pages will be pushed to the new layout on march 1, according to Facebook šŸ™

        On the upside, page tabs got iframes back, which is awesome.

      • Facebook told me the date for this was March 10th, but who knows…Maybe you could help us all out and guide us through creating our own app for our static fbml tabs so we don’t have to have that unattractive icon on the left side of our pages šŸ™‚

      • Good news is that FB confirmed that the smaller tab size is a BUG. Tabs stay at 520px. *whew*