How *not* to use Facebook as a marketing tool

Jack Lail posts about a Facebook controversy he says hasn’t hit the AP or newspapers yet (but Jack, aren’t you a newspaperman?) but that no doubt will before the day is over.

Brad Ward, the coordinator for electronic communications in Butler University admission office, uncovered a scheme where the website College Prowler, working with another company, has attempted to “colonize” Facebook groups named the “class of 2013” for 500+ colleges and universities. These groups, which look “official,” according to Ward, are a time-bomb of spam, he said. It seems clear that College Prowler intended to use the Facebook Groups to build a mailing list of school-by-school incoming freshmen.

The emerging controversy — already dubbed “Facebookgate” — hit online meme status and is already being covered online by outlets ranging from the Chronicle of Higher Education to Inside Facebook.

Ironically, Inside Facebook says the scheme by College Prowler uses “a savvy understanding of some behavioral dynamics (of) Facebook.” I say, “ironically,” because the scheme disiplays a complete lack of understanding of the behavioral dynamics of bloggers who always discover this kind of stuff.

Sidenote: Like in Jack’s family, someone in my household hopes to be in the Class of 2013. I say “hopes” because actually getting in depends on the submitting of applications — a task he’s knee-deep in as we speak.