Word of Mouth Marketing & Blog Marketing - Same Thing?

Thread Title:
The Hidden (in Plain Sight) Persuaders
Thread Description:

This article in the NY Times threadlinked above talks about word of mouth marketing a la BzzAgent where normal everyday people can sign up to become a "buzz agent" and quietly and unobtrusively market the company's clients products by just using them, taking them to parties or whatever.

The example given is one of some chicken sausages that on 4th July weekend this year were taken by hordes of secret buzz agents to BBQ's and parties all over the US.

Isn't this the same thing as the Blog "Product Placement" Scheme?
It seems to me that this is exactly the same as the Blogger Affiliates that get paid to talk up products in their popular blogs.

There's a massive hoohah surrounding this as some bloggers take up arms against the scheme for various reasons including the fact that it commercializes blogs at all, disclosure issues and more. In the post linked above I've voiced my scorn of the scheme aswell and added my voice to the angry throng :)

However, reading the NYT article gave me pause for thought. I've not solidified that thought into any coherent opinion as yet but imagine this: That a scheme like that be opened to all bloggers - as widespread as adsense is now. Pick products suited to your blog and write about them...

It's just affiliate marketing of course, but with the right kind of spin and heavy marketing it could provide a real winner for companies wanting to target the online word of mouth which is blogging.



Unleashing the Ideavirus

Seth Godin's free eBook does a good job of illustrating that the more our opinions can be bought, the less our opinions are respected. I certainly don't want to ever become a "promiscuous sneezer" (one of Seth's many viral marketing terms):


Our recommendations either build or erode our credibility, which is one of our greatest assets.

Now, let's see whether me sharing Seth's (FREE) eBook with you increases or decreases my standing in this "hive".

Kirk out.

Lying isn't good...

The New York Times put the nail in BzzAgent's coffin today. They exposed exactly how unethical the agents and their mentors at the BzzAgent HQ are (lying to their friends, lying to the folks at Amazon, lying to the folks at Barnes and Noble).

The whole company is based on people lying... even if their pay is small--and many don't collect it--the fact is these agents are lying to the people they are pitching.

The agents themselves say that when they disclose they are paid that they loose their audience... from the NYT:

NYT---Jason Desjardins has told a few people about his efforts for BzzAgent, with mixed results. Some people thought it sounded exciting. Others, however, said they felt ''used.'' One friend he tried to recruit now responds with suspicion when Desjardins talks up something he has done: ''Are you buzzing me?'' the friend will ask. Desjardins shrugs. ''I've been honest about everything.'' ----NYT

We have various levels of rules in society, from simple good manners up to the law, and if you break those rules you can get ahead. The fact that BzzAgents works does not mean they are good. Most of the time sending millions of spams works, and yes crime pays. You can also lie on your taxes, and on your resume.... doesn't mean you should.

I think BzzAgents has done an amazing job of putting a nice spin on lying... but it is still lying.

best jason


>>I think BzzAgents has done an amazing job of putting a nice spin on lying... but it is still lying.

I agree. Lying is lying.

It's very, very interesting for a marketer to look at though. The fact that this works so well is really a no-brainer but I'd not really thought about it much untill this article.

I think i was first introduced to the idea in Pattern Recongnition but it's almost certainly as old as the hills.

If it could be applied in a way that would not bring distrust upon the agent or the prospect you'd have a killer marketing vehicle. As it is, i think (putting ehtics to one side for one moment) you have a killer marketing vehicle anyway.

As far as blogs are concerned im 100% sure that marking a post or a link as being paid is not the way forward (at least as far as the ideas on this i've read go), i for one would just disregard the post in it's entirety.

What might be interesting is if these bloggers started out with the line "Company XYZ approached me to review product ABC" - gave an unbiased review and ended with "I was paid to review this product and i earn on it regardless of whether my review is good or bad".

Now if you had tons and tons of people writing about product xyz you'd soon piss the public off right? but maybe disclosure wouldnt be a turn off if you just wrote it right.

Are you involved with this scheme? I presume you have a take on the whole thing right?


Thanks for the link Kirk..

I have the free one that came out a few weeks back but have not had time to read yet, i hope to soon :)

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