Pre-frosh saved from dastardly College Prowler Facebook plot
Remember the thrill of getting your acceptance letter and smugly joining the “Georgetown Class of 20-whatever” Facebook group? Remember innocently bonding with your future classmates over discussions about just how ready to party you are and gleefully accepting the flurry of friend requests, all of which were accompanied by some permutation of the phrase “Hoya Saxa!!!”?
Well, I saw it as a digital right of passage, but College Prowler, a company that publishes college guidebooks, saw it as a huge potential market. SquarePeg.com has done an amazingly thorough investigation of what’s been happening with “Class of 2013″ Facebook groups and found that an absurd number of them had the same administrators – including the Georgetown 2013 group, where one of the admins was Ron Tressler, who SquarePeg traced as an admin for 58 different Class of 2013 groups.
SquarePeg traced the suspicious admins back to College Prowler using sites like LinkedIn and even found a Craigslist ad for a “Facebook Marketing Internship” (which has since been deleted).
To quote SquarePeg on why this is so sinister:
Think of it: Sitting back for 8-10 months, (even a few years), maybe friending everyone and posing as an incoming student. Think of the data collection. The opportunities down the road to push affiliate links. The opportunity to appear to be an ‘Admin’ of Your School Class of 2013. The chance to message alumni down the road. The list of possibilities goes on and on and on.
College Prowler CEO Luke Skurman left a comment saying the goal was to inform students about their free college guides and that no one affiliated with the company used the groups to send messages or wall posts. He also promised to remove all the people associated with College Prowler from the Class of 2013 groups (emphasis mine):
From a big picture perspective, having a marketing strategy using social networking sites (like Facebook) is something that is necessary to be effective in our business. We do pride ourselves on being forward thinking and aggressive. In this instance, in its current form, we have crossed the line and to reiterate, we will be removing our administrator privileges from all of these 2013 groups immediately.
So, long story short, SquarePeg saves the day! Pre-frosh will be able to oogle prospective hook-ups and obsessively ask current students with too much time on their hands questions unharrassed –hurrah! Some things, it seems, are indeed still sacred.
Via The Wired Campus.