After railing on the idea of BzzAgents for a while now, I figured I should probably check it out more in detail. So yesterday I signed up to be a BzzAgent myself.
If you haven’t heard of this, or don’t know the details, here they are. Basically people sign up to be BzzAgents (with some details on your demographics), and once approved, you can sign up for campaigns. Apparently they send you things to check out, then ask you to talk them up. The theory is that they don’t want you to talk up things you don’t really like. Whatever. (But we’ll get to that in a second) Then if you turn in monthly reports of your activities, y ou can earn points that you can redeem for stuff.
Apparently they have a couple of Fortune 500 CEOs, lots of women, and people who are there just to get things before anyone else. And of course, a ton of people who just want free stuff.
I really have to wonder how this came to be. Was it as underhanded as it seems – pay people to talk postive about products from paying clients. Or was this something where the a good idea – create a network of Gladwellesque Influencers to have easier access to products to talk about – that was adultrated by money?
Overall, I take a hard line of developing a “open and honest” relationship with the communities I work with. When I hear more and more stories about the Bush administration buying off people to talk positively about their policies, I have wonder how this is really that different.
Perhaps I’ll change my thinking when I sign up for my first campaign, but this just sounds a little too dishonest for me, no matter how you slice it.