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October 04, 2005
Buzz marketing meets the law

Is buzz marketing illegal? The answer on AdAge (maybe).

Comments on this entry

Here are my comments on this from my blog:

...if you've hired a bunch of people to create some buzz about your product, and consumers know that the person who is generating it is getting paid, would they not lose credibility.

The answer is yes, probably so. However, should disclosure not be given, and the consumers find out about it, the potential damage is far greater. A study by Intelliseek finds that of consumers surveyed, " would be disappointed if a trusted contact did not carefully disclose a paid or incentive-based relationship, 26 percent said they would never trust the opinion of that friend again, and 30 percent said they would be less likely to buy a product/service."

In light of such statistics, responsible brands must be heedful about giving full disclosure when it comes to using brand agents to generate buzz.

Posted by: Shig Odani at October 4, 2005 09:02 PM


The answer to all of this is more disclosure.

We want consumers to talk, openly and honestly. That's the point of word of mouth marketing. We insist that any relationship between consumers and marketers be clearly disclosed from the beginning. We also think that disclosure makes messages more powerful, because it makes them more trustworthy. (No other type of marketing demands this level of honesty.)

Posted by: Michael Rubin, WOMMA at October 5, 2005 04:55 PM


I agree proper disclosure to the consumer is necessary but then there is no point in generating paid word of mouth. When the consumer knows that the person is recommending him a product or service only because he is being paid for doing so he may not trust the quality of the product or service.

Word of mouth is best when it is generated by the customers who are satisfied by quality of your product or service. You'll need people to back your company's claim of outstanding service, and there is no one better to do that than a current satisfied customer.

Posted by: eTechSupport at November 15, 2005 12:55 PM


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