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Okotoks Hot Glass

From Hot Glass to Cold Reality: Hacked Business on the Brink

In the fiery world of glassblowing, David Blankenstyn never expected to be cooled down by a hacker’s attack, leaving his thriving business nearly extinguished

Social media has changed so many things in our lives; some for the good, others not so good.

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, both owned by Meta, have made it easier for many small businesses to connect with potential customers.

With almost everyone scrolling around on social media, it makes sense that if you want your business seen, you must build a presence on the sites where your customers hang out.

David Blankenstyn has done just that.

Blankenstyn owns and operates Okotoks Hot Glass, specializing in glass memorials incorporating cremation ashes in their design. He has been blowing glass for 20 years, 

Blankenstyn spent considerable time building his social media presence and accumulated an impressive 20,000 followers on his business Facebook page.

And it was not just Blankenstyn’s time and energy needed for engaging posts; it took money. He estimates he spent over $30,000 in ad money on Facebook.

And Then Came the Hackers

Becoming popular on social media can attract hackers who try to target the site.

That’s what happened to Blakenstyn.

Hackers somehow got past his two-factor authentication and accessed his Facebook account in September. Since then, he has not been able to create ads or posts, and business has dropped by 95 percent!

Before the hackers got into his account, Blankenstyn had built a good business with his unique offerings.

“I put so much effort into this, and just to think it can go that quickly is ridiculous,” he told Town and Country Today.

Facebook’s Non-Response

Blankenstyn quickly told Facebook about the hack. But even after several months, he’s still waiting for a complete solution.

“You have no recourse,” he said. “You can’t go down to the Facebook store.”

“This was working for me, and it was good, but I completely regret it.” 

He started a new Facebook account, but it has no history and, therefore, few followers and has been ineffective so far.

“It’s like I don’t exist again, so that’s the real problem,” he said. “Any customer that you paid to get, once that ad account is blocked, now they don’t see you anymore.” 

The story is familiar. Facebook makes it easy to take your money, but if you need help with your account, too bad. There is little recourse for direct communication with the platform.

The lesson that Blankenstyn has learned is to rely on just one social media platform.

Blankenstyn mentioned that he is contemplating offering glass-blowing classes as a means to cover operating expenses. 

As of January 12,  Blankenstyn has regained control of his original Facebook page but not his ad page. But he remains optimistic that if he can get his original ad account back, normal business operations can resume.

A collection of Okotoks Hot Glass art | Okotoks Hot Glass
A collection of Okotoks Hot Glass art | Okotoks Hot Glass

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