Hi, my name is Mike and I'm a Buzzagent.
Now that I've got that out of the way, I can speak freely on this blog about products I'm being "paid" to promote, right? Not according to Jason Calanis, founder of WeblogsInc.com. Jason has been ranting about how people are being paid to sell out their friends and act dishonestly to promote products.
I've been a Buzzagent for a long time. The way it works it interesting -- I am supposed to talk to friends, neighbors, family and strangers about products that Buzzagent.com is paid to promote through their army of evangelists. They give me a sample or discount on the product, and I can earn points by doing different things to help them get the word out. Those points can be traded in for stuff, but it's not like I'm making a lot of money doing it. I've gotten some cool stuff, but it's not the rewards that motivate me, it's the chance to try new products and learn about a new marketing method.
The problem is Jason believes you should say that you're being paid to promote a product. I don't think you have to if you're honest about how you feel about the product. They tell us to be truthful about the product, even if it sucks.
I will probably talk about products that are part of a Buzzagent campaign on this blog, and I haven't decided if I will tell you every time that I'm being "paid" (and I use that term loosely) to promote it. I think the Buzzagent concept is an exciting new way of promoting or launching products -- a heck of lot better than sending out SPAM, eh?
Jason believes that blogs are supposed to be "pure" and "honest." I try and live my life honestly, but I'm sure there are a bunch of liars that blog. It happens. They don't tell us to lie or mislead people, but I'm sure a Buzzagent or two has crossed the line. The majority of us are true to the spirit of it.
This was taken from the front page of Buzzagent.com:
Join the Hive and you will be given the opportunity to participate in Word-of-Mouth programs for some of the best products and services in the market today. As if that's not enough, expressing your honest opinion will give you access to rewards that will make honey seem dull. What are you waiting for? Start Bzzing today!
The problem with Jason's argument is that he sells ads. He also wants this to be a perfect world, and it's not. Buzzagents are a competing marketing tool, and while I dislike being misled, if a Buzzagent is honest about how they feel about a product I don't care if they are being paid to tell me their opinion.
Jason, get over it and get back to making awesome blogs. :-)