Posted by Amanda Chapel Wednesday, September 19, 2007
This just in from a reliable source... the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) is changing its name. We’ve just learned that the group is considering a new name in order to distance itself from the taint of “behavioral manipulation” and the looming potential of government oversight.
By way of background, on November 1-2 the FTC will be holding hearings on Behavioral Marketing. The purpose of the investigation is to address the consumer protection issues raised by the practice of tracking consumers’ behavior for the purposes of marketplace manipulation.
In a statement released late Tuesday, WOMMA Interim CEO Pete Waldheim was emphatic that his organization does "zero work with behavioral manipulation." However, he later contradicted himself admitting that the issues the FTC is focusing on “are germane to some forms of online marketing” and conceded that these “are related to certain practices in the word-of-mouth marketing industry.”
"Our work with the online world focuses on such issues as involving people in communities, making tools available to help them spread the word, and soliciting and eliciting responses and opinions from consumers about their experiences with products and services. It is not on how to track consumers, or how to surveil individuals’ behavior over time. [Though] we do urge companies to listen and communicate with their consumers who post, for instance, to ratings or review sites, responding to concerns where appropriate."
On the condition of anonymity, one insider said: "Well, unless they change their name and forego a huge chunk of member dues from companies like Edelman... they're dead meat. The public is far more sensitive to manipulation than it's ever been. If the FTC doesn't start looking into their members' practices now, they will soon."
New names currently under consideration include: the Chit-Chat Club; Shel Holtz' Coffee Klatch; The Group Formerly Know as WOMMA; the Happy Talk Facilitators Union (HT-FU); and the Unemployed Marketing Executives Association (UMEA).
Posted by Brian Connolly Tuesday, September 18, 2007
ABSOLUTELY! Why? Well first off, WOMMA, the trade association for the Word of Mouth Marketing industry, is acting guilty as hell. Sorry but it's human nature; obfuscation is born of something to hide. And that's exactly what they've done for about a month now. So much for that little transparency thing they claim as their cornerstone.
Fact is, there's a lot of apparent similarity between "Online Behavioral Advertising" and WOMM. One tracks you quantitatively (cookies and such); the other qualitative. Both use analysis to spot trends in order to predict and leverage buying preferences. Both management functions are tasked with getting a better position in the marketplace on a macro level and a better position in the transaction on the micro level. Quacks like a duck? You bet! In fact, that's exactly what has WOMM all the rage. It's Behavioral Marketing on the cheap.
Hell, most of the bigger PR firms and now engaged overtly in "Influence Mapping." Some of the Social Media revolutionaries even have what they are calling "Online Conversation Analysts." As one senior PR exec who's asked to remain anonymous said: "WOMM is the little sister of Online Behavioral Advertising. She's not as smart but she's learning quickly."
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
Kathleen Durazo about A Measly $2.8 Million Goes Missing, Lawsuit Results Fri, Jul 31, 10:58:34 AM Ray Durazo (the founder) sold the company to Dan in 1999. He was not involved in any of this. He (and I) found out about the lawsuit in the LA Times. In addition to embezzling this m [...]