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February 07, 2006
Why transparency matters
The computer accessory manufacturer Nvidia finds itself facing all sorts of scrutiny about how its PR agency recruits customers to promote company products in online chat rooms.
The Consumerist blog writes that Nvidia employs the Arbuthnot Entertainment Group to organize its customer promoters. There's conflicting claims as to whether AEG requires participants to sign non-disclosure agreements. If that's the case, both AEG and Nvidia are mired in the WOM 1.0 world.
An organized customer evangelist program, whether run by a company or agency, should operate in the open. Any expectations, benefits or rewards should be clearly defined for everyone to read. Making it easy for fans to sign up should be easy to find and as simple to navigate as a shopping cart. That's the new reality of online customer advocacy. Anything less is viewed as cluelessness, obfuscation or at worst, attempted fraud.
If you follow the thread of The Consumerist's posts (here and here), it seems Nvidia is somewhat unconcerned about full disclosure or pointing The Consumerist to a complete program description. This, of course, leads to the question: What's really going on?
Update: Christopher Carfi has a good roundup of the story.
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» Market Viraling, Part II from El Oso, El Moreno, and El Abogado
Two weeks ago there was a conference in Orlando, Florida called Word-of-Mouth Basic Training and according to NY Times advertising reporter, Julie Bosman, it was aimed at teaching attendees how to tap into the power of word of mout... [Read More]
ben...thomas hawk had an interesting conversation with derek perez from nvidia. more thoughts in the update here: