I have to hand it to the folks at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, they have a sense of humor. According to Brian Clark’s blog (which is very good I might add), they have made the CEO of BSAgentsI mean BzzAgentthe head of their ethics committee.
That is not me making a joke it is no longer April 1st and I’m not being a cheeky monkey.
BzzAgents is the company which has people lying to their friends in order to market products for profit according to the NYTimes and their own site if you remember. WOMMA’s ethics committee is being run by the CEO of that companywhat a joke!
When you think about it, however, it makes total sense a field without ethics hires the most unethical company to set their ethical standards.
These guy still refuse to debate me in public over ethics because they know that I have the silver bullet: I have the public on my side.
Who out there wants to be deceived by their friends? No really, if you want to be deceived by your friends just raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone? I didn’t think so.
These wackos sit there in their own little self-made cult twisting Seth Godin’s theories to the point at which they believe that wethe publicwant to be involved in this non-sense. Just goes to show you that a lot of smart, greedy folks in a room can come up with all kinds of justifications for doing the wrong thingjust like ENRON!
The day the public says they are looking to be deceived by marketers I’ll quit my job and go work for BzzAgentsuntil that day we should all tell these wacky marketers to take their wacky plans back to their laboratory and come up with something the public actually WANTS!
At the core, that is the problem with marketing people want to substitute marketing for the hard work associated with creating a great product, and BzzAgents is the ultimate example of that: “our product sucks so bad we need to pay people to lie to their friends in order to get them to like it.” That’s the value proposition: we deceive folks into liking your product even though it sucks.
You can tell the WOMMA is torn when you read back to back statements in which they contradict themselves here is their “ethics” statement:
* We encourage word of mouth advocates to disclose their relationship with marketers in their communications with other consumers. We don’t tell them specifically what to say, but we do instruct them to be open and honest about any relationship with a marketer and about any products or incentives that they may have received.
* We stand against shill and undercover marketing, whereby people are paid to make recommendations without disclosing their relationship with the marketer.
Uhh. wait a second. First you say that you “encourage” folks to disclose their relationshiplots of wiggly room thereand then you say you “stand against shill and undercover marketing.” Stand against? Even more wiggly room!
You see, you either stand for something or your stand for nothing guys. If you have any ethics you would just say “Our members insist that any marketing be disclosed up front” in your ethics statement. Instead you guys dance around the issue, and that is the red flag of a truly deceitful person: mixing lies with truth.