Rosie Siman, 21, a University of Georgia senior who raised objections on Target's Facebook site .
By Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune
Target Corp. is learning the hard way that life in the blogosphere can put you right in the bullseye.
The Minneapolis-based discount retailer is being outed in online blogs and discussed in college ethics classes after students allied with the company were told to "keep it like a secret" while singing the company's praises on the social network site Facebook.com.
"Keep it a secret? That sounds unethical," said Rosie Siman, 21, a senior at the University of Georgia and a member of the Target Rounders. The group of mostly college students gets discounts, CDs and other prizes for marketing Target products to their friends and providing the company with feedback.
"You're essentially asking people to lie for you," Siman said. "People will be seeing all these posts saying, 'Target's awesome' and they don't realize they're coming from people who essentially are being paid to promote Target."
The hubbub began in early October after Siman received a Rounders newsletter as Target was launching a new Facebook page. Like many companies now setting up sites on Facebook and MySpace, Target hoped to get people talking about new products, get feedback and continue to find ways to promote its hip image.
"Your Mission: Try not to let on in the Facebook group that you are a Rounder," the newsletter read.
"We love your enthusiasm for the Rounders, and I know it can be hard not to want to sing it from the mountaintops [and in the shower, and on the bus]. However, we want to get other members of the Facebook group excited about Target, too! And we don't want the Rounders program to steal the show from the real star here: Target and Target's rockin' Facebook group. So keep it like a secret!"
Siman didn't keep her own concerns a secret, however. She posted them on Facebook.com. And the damage control -- which she said included deleting or archiving her posts -- began.
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I don't see why people are amazed at this, Tarbutt has always had an interest in the world wide web, they even have a department who buys up domain names that may reflect poorly on Tarbutt and if a current web site/blog misses its payment then Tarbutt is right there to 'buy' the site and keep it inactive. They even sue bloggers, as they did sue me to close this blog. It went on for 23 months before it got tossed out of Federal Court in Atlanta.