Thoughts on Sharetize

Last week I was asked my thoughts on a new product, Sharetize, that pays consumers to share commercial messages with their social networks.

The Marketing Mag piece is here, but here’s my full response.

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First, I personally hope that it doesn’t work in its current format as the non-disclosure aspect goes against the ethos of social media – to be open, honest and transparent. I would rather see them adopt a hashtag, for twitter at least, to show some sort of disclosure – when I’m talking about clients, friends, competitors, investments, on Twitter I use the #discl hashtag and others have started to the do the same. On my blog or on facebook, I can flat out disclose the relationship. PayPerPost was one of the first companies to roll out this model for bloggers and at first did not require disclosure…but quickly changed its policy when social media purists started to draw attention to the unethical nature of the service.

Second, from DDB Canada‘s perspective, we believe in creating communication that people are willing to participate in and share around. Our research shows that these communications have more impact with consumers – that ideas with what we call “ShareValue” have commercial value . So we hope that this service doesn’t muddy the waters causing people to be suspicious of every online (and offline) endorsement.

Third, however, I think it may be a success. People are looking to monetise their social media activity as much as possible and there is a burgeoning “black hatindustry around social media. Companies are popping up that allow you to buy more twitter followers, more fans, more youtube views which means for every ethical marketer that wants to participate in social media there is a less scrupulous marketer looking to manipulate the system. If my clients are looking for social endorsement at scale, and are willing to pay for it as a media cost, I would point them to services like ad.ly, Klout, Kred or appinions – but the best way to get people talking about you is to create interesting content with ShareValue.

 

3 Responses to Thoughts on Sharetize

  1. Geo H. says:

    What is the difference? Celebrities have been getting paid to endorse products for years. When Kim K. tweets about a product and gets paid, it is no different then when a normal person does it. Does KIm really use that product, most likely not. At least with normal people they will be a little more choosey and will post about products they actually have interest in. We live in a world of advertising, everything you wear or restaurant you eat at is an ad to your social circle. This is a more genuine type of marketing, and its about time we could make some money from all those hours on social media!

    • Ed Lee says:

      Geo – thanks for the comment. If Kim K or any other celebrity uses ad.ly and gets paid to tweet, they usually disclose. so should everyone else. i’m less worried about people being paid to tweet/fb/blog that i am people disclosing the motives for their actions. if we suspect our friends are all shilling for someone, we lose the power of an endorsement, and the power of social.

  2. Neil says:

    Pretty sure Facebook’s Promotion Policies don’t allow any incentive for native Facebook functionality like commenting, sharing, posting status messages or unfriending, so Facebook should/will block any shares via Sharetize after about the first 24 hours. Still ‘viable’ via Twitter though.

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