Early on, I told you that the reason I am in this business in the first place is because when I was little my mother told me I'd never get anywhere with "that mouth." As I said, I've apparently spent my life proving her wrong. For the record, the reference is NOT to be confused with word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM).
When I hear people like one of my favorite PR seniors Dick Murray, executive vice president and general manager of public relations agency Edelman, extolling the virtues of Word of Mouth Marketing, it's clear that this "new" approach is just... well... PR Viagra, i.e. it's just another "booster" for the PR industry to screw clients out of a few more bucks.
Bottom line: When everything old is new again, is typically when you find companies like Bzz (or is it Bzzzz) Agent glomming onto other people's money to push out even more nefarious approaches to selling stuff. It's as simple as that.
Now, call me just an old-fashioned girl, but when I was growing up and reading books by the likes of Mr. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain to all you PR majors out there), a "shill" was someone who pretended to be part of the audience but was actually paid by the Snake Oil Huckster. It would seem that Bzzzzzz Agennnnt specializes in developing modern day shills. And this makes the whole WOMM "ethics" problem so much more problematic. Clearly, the WOMMA and Buzzzzard guys anticipated this so they cooked up a half-wit solution to stave it off! (See the WOMM Code of Ethics.) A prophylactic if there ever was one.
In the final analysis, the WOMM about WOMMA and all things Word of Mouth is about as fresh and innovative as well... new porn. Fact is, it's not new at all. And Dick, if I am a client and you've got a hard on, it had better be genuine.
This just in from a Strumpette stringer: There was apparently a big flap between Bzzzz Agennnnt's Dave Balter, the self appointed Chief Knucklehead of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, and Andy Sernovitz. Apparently, Andy thinks Dave's a dick, too. The WOMM surrounding this whole waste of time came from a spat about who received the most ink in an Inc. Magazine article. Sadly, the biggest word of mouth these disenfranchised geniuses can muster is about themselves.