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College.com faces off against Facebook, MySpace

A rising senior applies for a job at Morgan Stanley but does not qualify for a second round of interviews. The student was relaxed, enthusiastic and confident during the interview, but the company later searched Facebook to find incriminating pictures of the student drinking and partying.

The university reminds students annually that Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace may be seen by potential employers.
Though Facebook allows users to set privacy levels and control who can see their profile, a new Web site called College.com -which expanded to the University of Miami Monday-offers students privacy from outside sources by only allowing users with college e-mail aliases to gain access.

One of the site’s goals is to have its users “not worry about employers and parents invading their privacy,” said Sam Marks, marketing manager for College.com.

Alicia Rodriguez, associate director of career and development at the Toppel Career Center, said the type of job a person applies for will determine whether an employer investigates online profiles.

“The social sites are a great networking tool, but they have to be used in the appropriate manner,” she said. Rodriguez also said some employers use social networking sites as a screening tool; others do not use the Internet to check employees.

Unlike Facebook and MySpace, which are open to any Internet user, College.com requires users to have a college e-mail address ending with ‘.edu’, which are only used by college and universities.

“We don’t want to be compared to Facebook,” Marks said. “Facebook, like MySpace, wants to be everything to everyone where[as]we, as our name states, want to be everything for the college student.”

College.com was created by two graduates from the University of Florida and two former employees from Florida State University. The Web site is being promoted through word-of-mouth and through promotions, such as contests and campus road trips for schools that reach 1,000 users. The site attracts about six new schools each week.

Web site creators hosted a party on Sept. 5 for College.com members at FSU, the first school to reach the 1,000 members goal.

“Facebook is no longer for college students,” Kim Allan, an FSU junior, said. “Having your information listed on Facebook is like leaving an open copy of your personal diary for everyone to read. Eventually the wrong person is going to see that information.”

Though Facebook and MySpace offer quirky applications like writing graffiti, purchasing gifts for friends and decorating the page itself, College.com offers students one thing Facebook doesn’t offer: virtual classes. Members are able to create notes and flashcards for a class or view professor information, including ratings and reviews. Additional features include classifieds, entertainment reviews, Greek life and sports event updates tailored to specific campuses are still being planned.

“I really like how the site revolves around each user’s college,” Ben Tow, a sophomore, said. “It’s handy to have professor ratings and game dates all rolled into one site. I’d take full advantage of it.”

Though College.com may appeal to some, other students are staying loyal to the nearly 4-year-old Facebook.

“I’m currently happy with Facebook because it seems to be the most recognized social network by a lot of college students,” Mike Schutrum, a sophomore, said. “Until College.com is properly promoted, then Facebook will remain most popular.”

Analisa Harangozo may be contacted at a.harangozo@umiami.edu.

College.com

College.com gets 40,000 hits every day (Daily Kansan statistics).

College.com has a unique alarm clock feature. Students can enter their cell phone numbers and a computer will call their phones at a designated time for a wake up call.

Greek organizations can register their chapters so students interested in rushing can browse through the registered fraternities and sororities.

Members can also assign grades to professors, similar to ratemyprofessor.com.

Users can see the current weather and temperature along with a five-day forecast.

The “Daily Doink” offers a variety of information users can choose to read about, such as celebrity gossip.

Compiled by Kelly Herson and Analisa Harangozo.

Facebook

 An estimated 200,000 new people sign up for Facebook each day.

 This year, Facebook is expected to post a profit of about $30 million. By 2008, the projected profit is $70 million.

 Facebook could garner $6 billion in revenue by 2016

 PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member and its first investor ($500,000), recently suggested the company is worth as much as $10 billion.

 Social networks are used by two-thirds of the estimated 220 million online users in the US.

 There are more than 4,000 applications on Facebook, such as writing superlatives about your buddies or giving them a virtual poke.

Compiled by Kelly Herson from USAToday.com.

October 4, 2007

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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