Are you "e-fluential"?
October 30, 2002 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Are you "e-fluential"? It's possible you are without even knowing it--you never know who might be listening in. While I don't find all gadget/soft drink/product discussions insidious, it does seem like they pop up pretty regularly. Has anyone here been contacted? Or are these companies (and others like them) just targeting product-oriented boards?
posted by _sirmissalot_ (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I find this trend upsetting and disturbing, quite unlike Pepsi Blue, which I find refreshing and delicious. What do you guys think?
posted by mikrophon at 2:15 PM on October 30, 2002

I think Pepsi Blue tastes like Windex but doesn't leave the windows in my Ford as clear and streak-free. I'd be more than willing to test either product in a brand-new Jaguar, 'cause I hear they're for men who like handjobs from beautiful women they hardly know.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:18 PM on October 30, 2002

Their quiz could be boiled down a bit, I think.

(1) Do you have a life apart from the damn computer? yes( ) no( )
posted by yhbc at 2:20 PM on October 30, 2002

Looking at these sites makes me want to take a shower. *shudder*
posted by DenOfSizer at 2:21 PM on October 30, 2002

Damn. My neighbor had a Jaguar for sale, and I opted for *ahem* light sport truck--er, Ford Explorer. I know, part of the problem. I am actually losing sleep. What were we talking about?
posted by mikrophon at 2:22 PM on October 30, 2002

So you're e-fluential if you spend a certain amount of time chatting/posting/etc. By that logic, annoying 8 year olds posting "I like poopie" twice a day would be e-fluential.

But then again, that's a pretty common marketing strategy these days... Want to buy some poopie?
posted by zekinskia at 2:23 PM on October 30, 2002

I've had to email two MetaFilter members in the past week, to ask them to stop shilling for the products/services that continually kept showing up in their posts and comments.

So yeah, this shit is for real, and seeks to ruin this place.
posted by mathowie at 2:24 PM on October 30, 2002

I say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

I'd like nothing better then to be a designated early adopter for my demographic. Think of the exciting influence and power, yum.
posted by Leonard at 2:24 PM on October 30, 2002

Really? What were they selling, Matt?

* thinks better of the question, withdraws *
posted by yhbc at 2:26 PM on October 30, 2002

I've had to email two MetaFilter members in the past week, to ask them to stop shilling for the products/services that continually kept showing up in their posts and comments.

Wow. I'd never suspected that marketing had enough of a clue to tap into blogs. I bet it's cheap.

I wonder if my girlfriend's getting paid by 24-hour gym to tell me I'm fat...
posted by zekinskia at 2:30 PM on October 30, 2002

This barely has anything to do with this, but in my work cafeteria today I overheard a guy who must have stepped right directly out of a TV commmercial. He literally said in a casual conversation:

"It is unbelievable how much sugar soft drinks contain."

It just felt all creepy and oily to be near this person. I can't quite explain why, it was just the use of the word "soft drink" instead of "pop" or whatever combined with this obvious, cliche observation.
posted by badstone at 2:31 PM on October 30, 2002

_sirmissalot_, your last link reminds me of the scene from A Hard Day's Night where George wanders into the wrong office by mistake.

Marketer: "She's a trendsetter."

George: "She's a drag. A well-known drag. We turn the sound down on her and say rude things."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:31 PM on October 30, 2002

Am I e-fluential? Or is that just effluent? I guess we'll never know.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2002

BuzzMetrics produced a list and analysis of several hundred of the individual users that most heavily influence public perception and drive consumer behavior among our client's target audience. Our client used this analysis to develop early adopter outreach programs, including information campaigns, product trials, and promotional giveaways

Oooh so if you do spend waaaaay too much time on message boards you might be showered with electronics!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2002

I frequent a discussion board over here where the talk is mostly about high end cameras and lenses. Several times I've gotten the feeling that posters must have been getting paid to say some of the ridiculous advise.

The problem is that I use this board for purchasing decisions. And some of these lenses are over a thousand dollars. So while I *think* the advise is first rate there, how do I know that half the posters aren't being paid by one side or the other?

In fact I made my last printer purchase based mainly on the advise I found there. I'd made up my mind, but the "real world" experiences people were having contrasted greatly with the reviews for the printer I wanted, so I got something else. But in the back of my mind I still wonder if I got sucked in by corporate shills.

In short - I think this sort of thing should be illegal. It amounts to false advertising and (IMHO) fraud.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2002

I kinda thought so, Matt -- I've been wondering about this since I first started reading MetaFilter a couple of years ago, and watching the product threads multiply. Just think about the general MF demographic through an advertiser's eyes: relatively young, professional, early adopter, apt to have own blogs with which to promote new Pepsi drink flavors . . .
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2002

I've had to email two MetaFilter members in the past week, to ask them to stop shilling for the products/services that continually kept showing up in their posts and comments.

It's your site Matt, but I don't think any of us would complain if you outright banned someone for pulling this particular type of shit. Sometimes you're just too damn polite'n'forgiving.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:35 PM on October 30, 2002

Using "e-" as a prefix is so last century.

From the BuzzMetrics site: Incent these trendsetters to act on behalf of your interests in online communities.


Rather than creepy, I find all these sites moronic. Substandard buzzwordy oligophrenic hype. They look like they were made up by a bunch of mediocre MBAs after reading their first issue of Wired.
posted by signal at 2:40 PM on October 30, 2002

I've received emails from a couple of companies who felt that my readers would love their wacky product.

posted by Kafkaesque at 2:44 PM on October 30, 2002

Hmm. I should make my e-mail address more publicly available. I'd love to get some free electronic toys, and I'm already in marketing, so I can shill like nobody's business.

Marketers - do you want to crack the coveted web market? I'm your man. Just send my your products to try.
posted by willnot at 2:57 PM on October 30, 2002

I'm E-fluential according to quiz... and I've been accused of being a shill for a particular kind of digital camera I'm fond of, as well as being a disciple of a certain brand of video recorder.

I also run an online community and some long time members have adopted a specific product and talk about it very often. They own stock in the company, one person works as a contractor for the high-tech gizmo. It's almost become a running joke, how often the product comes up.

But the real joke is that, unlike Metafilter, I think my online community site has such little sway over anyone that it's mostly just a waste of time.

When I see something mentioned online in a forum like this, I really do doubt whether it would make anyone want to purchase or subscribe or whatever. Since no one ever changes their mind about any other subject here ("You're wrong! No, you're wrong!"), I really don't think a product mention or two has any impact on anything whatsoever...

I do think it's interesting that Matt caught two efluential marketers, though, and I'd be interested in hearing if they put up any kind of defense for their behavior.
posted by crunchland at 3:14 PM on October 30, 2002

I thought I was old enough to be over this but apparently not. We live in a money-oriented, commercial-drenched society. Why do any of you still complain/wonder about it?
posted by billsaysthis at 3:21 PM on October 30, 2002

mathowie: I've had to email two MetaFilter members in the past week, to ask them to stop shilling for the products/services...

*checks inbox*
posted by eddydamascene at 3:22 PM on October 30, 2002

From the second link in the FPP: Many clients have leveraged Cyveillance's Brand Commentary Solution to prevent revenue leakage and recoup lost dollars.

Revenue leakage? Isn't there medication for that?
posted by tippiedog at 3:25 PM on October 30, 2002

It's one of the side effects of Olestra, tippiedog.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:31 PM on October 30, 2002

I'm pretty e-disgusted. But hey, free Green Paper to anyone who joins the Camism cult.
posted by camworld at 4:43 PM on October 30, 2002

How much free green paper?
posted by nyxxxx at 5:26 PM on October 30, 2002

e-mazing! I find your ideas intriguing, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:36 PM on October 30, 2002

On my blog, I have a page of products I like, sort of making fun of this whole phenomenon, actually. Then one day, I got a "keep up the good work" email from one of the companies I was pseudo-promoting. I doubt it has anything to do with "cyvailling" me or anything, though. My page comes up second, third, and fourth in a google search for the company's name. Plus, I don't really mind cause it's a small company and they actually do make a good product.*

*does not count as an ad, since I don't actually mention the product, or the company's name, or even the type of product it is.
posted by faustessa at 9:17 PM on October 30, 2002

So, we're agreed. The future will be creepy.
posted by dglynn at 10:32 PM on October 30, 2002

I subscribe to some industry forums (the technical side of advertising - printing press info, digital storage etc...) and it's interesting to watch the product discussions there. Discussions evolve where salesman posts "Use us, we're great!" then quickly starts having to hand out technical support names and numbers to irate users (just as publicly as the original shill). Those are fun.

Marketing companies who don't have strong ethics will always find away bug us. The good news is we have people like _sirmissalot_ and others mefi'ers to root them out.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:00 PM on October 30, 2002

Question: What's the difference between plugging Bruce Springstein, and plugging Sony?

Answer: Nothing.

I don't understand this false dichotomy between products of utilility and products of entertainment. Why should one be verboten and the other not? Should we second-guess every Star Wars fan as some company mole? If not, then why can't people who are equally enthusiastic about,say, Macintosh products or Pepsi-cola be extended the same benefit of the doubt?

What a double standard. People plug movies, directors, musicians, record labels, books, artists, magazines, and sports teams all the time on MetaFilter, even starting threads on these subjects. Do these people ever get little 'surprises' in their in-boxes? Afterall, these things are undeniably products as well. So does that mean we should doubt these fans as shills to monied interests? If not, then endorsements for other products should be respected as well, for the sake of the individual. Communities are built on trust.
posted by dgaicun at 11:14 PM on October 30, 2002

I plug stuff I personally like, though I get no compensation for doing so. Then immediately after I start doing that, whatever I like starts losing ratings (like the Buffy tv series) or the company stops making whatever I like, or the band breaks up. So when you compare the actions of people like me with actual shills, I think it all evens out. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 8:05 AM on October 31, 2002

What's the difference between plugging Bruce Springstein, and plugging Sony?

Because plugging Bruce can start a stimulating discussion on music, his talent, and differing opinions about these things.

More often than not, a product plug ends up "X-Box r00lz!!!" "No, PS2 is tha shiznit!"

We view entertainment products as an experience, and nothing fosters community better than sharing experiences. "Utility" products - well, they don't make good conversation. When's the last time someone told you they had a great experience with their hammer, or their pants?

(Actually, most great experiences are better without pants, but that's just MY opinion.)
posted by Jart at 11:11 AM on October 31, 2002

I welcome our e-fluent blog-trolling morally bankrupt dr. pepper fusion drinking overlords...or something.
posted by verso at 12:53 PM on October 31, 2002

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