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Unfair Facebook strategy

Someone just promoted a conference in Facebook.  The promoters are good guys and it looks like a great event.

But not linking to it or promoting it.

Why? Because I think they’ve used an abusive promotional strategy:  They tagged the event page in Facebook with the names of a few dozen prominent social-media bloggers:

Ann Handley, Chris Abraham, Andrew Bourland, Brian Solis, Buzz Bruggeman, Rohit Bhargava, Steve Broback, Charlene Li, Jeremiah Owyang, Chris Heuer, John Cass, Mack Collier, Stephen Fells, Guy Kawasaki, Josh Hallett, Neville Hobson, Shel Israel, John Battelle, John Jantsch, Richard Nacht, Kevin OKeefe, Steve Rubel, Zane Safrit, Teresa Valdez Klein, Debbie Weil, Yvonne DiVita, Shawn Zehnder Lea.

The catch is that none of us are speaking at the event.  I don’t think we even knew it was happening.  But anyone following us on Facebook or Google just got an alert about the conference and sees our picture.

This is an abuse of trust (and trademarks). We never endorsed this event, but it sure looks like we did.  It’s more that a little deceptive to all future visitors.

Even worse, a key theme of the event is transparency and honesty.

Lesson:  Social media is fast to do, and mistakes are easy to make. Slow down and take a second look before you post.  Do a double-check for ethics and honesty.

P.S. I put the bloggers’ names in this post so they could find the page and remove their names. Was that ok?

Update: I’ve added a screenshot of the page.  

Update #2: To clarify, the Facebook page was actually posted by a fan of the event, not the organizers. It  raises one of toughest word of mouth ethics questions: How much responsibility do marketers have for the actions of their fans?  Check out the the controversy with Subway suing Quiznos for their fan’s videos.

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