Rocketboom anchor Amanda Congdon's blog, Amanda UnBoomed, took on a new meaning when she allegedly got fired. The site of a University of Texas sophomore, UnFaced.com, is following a similar path.
UnFaced is a site that employs technology designed to identify frequent viewers of users' Facebook profiles and calculate compatibility with them.
Economics student John Arrow, founder of UnFaced--"all about UnFacing Facebook. Whatever that means," according to its About page--seems to have found another meaning for the word.
Hours after school newspaper The Daily Texan wrote about UnFaced last Monday, describing the site as a "new Facebook spin-off," Arrow received a cease-and-desist e-mail from Facebook.
The message, seen by CNET News.com, said, "I'm sure you meant the site in good fun, but it (is) a serious violation of several clauses of our terms of service, including automating against the site and storing site data locally, which attempt to circumvent our carefully built privacy tools. Additionally, the use of 'face' in the name of the site implies a connection between our sites, which may be a violation of trademark law."
Arrow, who said he created UnFaced as a "small, fun pet project and an experiment in viral marketing," was also informed in the message, from Facebook engineer Andrew Bosworth, that his Facebook profile had been "disabled until we can get this taken care of, but we'll be happy to return it to you when you comply with our terms of service."
As of Monday morning, UnFaced was still accepting new registrants. And on the site, Arrow asked for members' support in soliciting Facebook to bring back his profile: "If someone is bored and wants to start up one of those nifty Facebook (official petition) groups entitled something like: 'Bring John Arrow Back to Facebook' or maybe 'Facebook isn't Facebook without John Arrow' or whatever, that would be awesome."
Facebook did not return a request for comment.
Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and several Harvard University classmates (who, like Arrow, were sophomores), Facebook is the second-largest social-networking site and the most popular such site among the college set. It recently expanded into the general-public arena dominated by News Corp.'s MySpace.com and is considering a hefty buyout offer from Yahoo.
Arrow said he's been operating "various monetized Web sites" since he was 14. The more popular ones, he said, include online-advertising firm ExpoActive and security sites such as SpyRecon under the Fusion Corp. umbrella. The free UnFaced, he said, has "several thousand" members.