First there was pay for placement, now there's pay for buzz. According to AdAge, word of mouth is becoming a saleable medium, just like television. Apparently ad agencies will be able to "buy good buzz" the same way you can buy and ad, or a congressman. I guess with enough money you can buy anything, but to me, the beauty of word of mouth was that it was based on reputation and reality, not how much money someone was paying for the service.
What's got me really scared is that the advertising community it all over this, and PR, that first invented word of mouth, is nowhere to be found.
According to Ad Age: "Turning WOM into a medium -- as opposed to just a marketing discipline or tactic -- could do wonders for its stature, allowing agencies to buy buzz alongside traditional media buys. There’s even a rate card forthcoming this week. ....BzzAgent campaigns work like this: Volunteer agents choose a campaign to work on and receive information about the product. After forming an opinion, the agents spread it to people they know and then produce a report on the activity. The reports are then analyzed for the client. Agents receive points in exchange for reports that they can redeem for rewards."
To me it all ads up to more fakery and less "truthiness" in marketing. I for one, will begin to suspect anyone's opinion, and personally would want to know how much they are getting paid to promote it. Kind of how I feel about Congress these days.