Paying People To Rename Themselves As Brands

from the would-you-do-it? dept

The power of word-of-mouth to make or break a product has long been well known. But recently, there's been interest in directly exploiting this, as though people's conversations were just another advertising channel, like TV or radio. The problem is, it's really difficult to get people to just bring up products in their conversations, and trying to do so raises all kinds of ethical problems, not mention it's really hard to measure and track. Along these lines, one company is offering to pay people to add an advertisement to their IM names, so, for example, if your handle had been "chessplayer103", you'd change it to "chessplayer 103 visit ____.com", and every time your name popped up in conversation, the ad would appear yet again. And the longer you talk with more and more friends, the more you get paid. This is certainly one way of injecting a product into a conversation, and it's easy to imagine the next step, which would be to pay people for actually dropping an ad into the text of the chat. But ultimately, we doubt many people will be keen on monetizing their friendships this way, and it should be pretty easy to scam using computer-to-computer automated chats.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Don, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 10:03am

    Rename themselves

    Is it me, or has marketing run amok?

     

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    Niquesy, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 10:09am

    Brand X

    Next people will be naming thier kids after brands to pay for college.
    Stranger to new mom, "He's so cute, what's his name?"
    Mom to Stranger, "Sketcher John"
    Stranger to mom, "Did you get enough to pay for college?"

     

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      identicon
      Mel, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 11:16am

      Re: Brand X

      you should read "Jennifer Government" by Max Barry. Everyone in the book has the last name of the company they work for, including government agents. There is a social stigma if you don't introduce yourself as "Melanie Enron", etc. as it means you are jobless.

       

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    identicon
    madmikeVisitTechDirt.com, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 10:23am

    Really?!

    Sounds good to me. How much does it pay?

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 10:35am

      Re: Really?!

      > Sounds good to me. How much does it pay?

      Not enough to recover your dignity

       

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      •  
        identicon
        madmikeVisitTechDirt.com, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re: Really?!

        Everyone would whore out their username if they got paid the right amount of money.

        I would do it for two dollars.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Keybored, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 10:38am

    Advertising has definately run fu*** amuck. Please make it stop.

     

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    identicon
    WOOHOO!!!!, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 10:56am

    Money for chatting!!!!

    where do is sign up??? If all i have to do is change my screen name, why not. Its no different then when someone buys a "GAP" t-shirt and is a walking ad. You just get paid for this advertising.

     

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    identicon
    anyone @ techdirt dot com, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 11:08am

    HELLO!!!!

    dude, whats in a name?

    Whats in an email address?

    email addresses have LONG been advertising for sites.

     

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    identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 11:29am

    it's happening already

    and it's easy to imagine the next step, which would be to pay people for actually dropping an ad into the text of the chat.
    This has been happening for the last few years, actually. There are specific agencies that contract with individuals (primarily students or others in their 20s) to talk up specific products.

     

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    eric (visit, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 11:44am

    i foresee

    you know when you watch football, and they show a yellow line for the first down line, and now they have another thing superimposed that says "3rd and 7". I predict ads there soon. already happens in baseball, there's a greenscreen just to the left of the batter

     

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    Mike C., Oct 25th, 2006 @ 12:01pm

    Marketing is out of control...

    {sarcasm} I, for one, (visit travelwebsite.com) would never stoop so low ($10 off your next visit to Joe Chiropractor - mention this ad) as to include advertisements (subliminaladvertising.com) in my text-based communications (cellphonecompany.com) with any of my friends (socialnetworkingsite.com)..... {/sarcasm}

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 12:02pm

    Oh no...

    I can't blame them for trying something new but with spamming as bad as it is these days I'm not sure this will take off. It must be cheaper for companies to invest more into marketing departments than R&D departments...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    |3331373|3|_||3, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 7:48pm

    Change the names of your frinds when they appear

    I know people who do this because they cannot keep track of the stupid names that some of the girls I know seem to have nothing better to do than come up with. This way, you set up some chat script with a bunch of friends, scam the companies, and do so a t no cost or real effort on my part. I'm up for it, if the money's good enough.

     

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