Rewards-based WOM community fires 'pest' members

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on June 28, 2006

Rewards-based WOM community fires 'pest' members

It doesn't take long for some internet users to find ways of abusing services, but one word of mouth marketing firm is meeting the challenge head-on by expelling 10,000 errant members from its network.

Word-of-mouth marketing and media firm BzzAgent is preparing to implement a two-phased initiative to better match consumer volunteers with appropriate campaigns.

The company will begin by expelling up to 10,000 "pests" (members who have violated the company's terms of service) from its network. It will follow with an overhaul of its rewards system.

Intelligent deselection By removing pests, BzzAgent is strengthening an earlier policy in which agents found to be registering multiple accounts, filing false reports or committing similar infractions were blocked from joining word-of-mouth campaigns, but permitted to remain community members.

By ending its relationship with the deceptive minority, the company will be able to increase campaign opportunities and provide more timely services to the honest majority. BzzAgent will notify all participants found to be in violation of its terms of service of their expulsion over the next few weeks.

Rewards revamped too The second phase of the network enhancement initiative will involve revamping its rewards system to attract fewer pests. The current programme, in which volunteers earn points for reporting their word-of-mouth activities, has been undersubscribed since its inception. Reward redemption rates have dropped from 33% a year ago to 13% today. Further, when asked to cite the best part of being a BzzAgent, respondents ranked "earning reward-redeemable points" next to last, while "experiencing new products" was rated highest.

It appears that product-oriented rewards are not the primary motivator for most of the BzzAgent community and that the network places a far greater value on the 'social currency' of being among the first to experience new products.

Relaunch date BzzAgent expects to announce the re-engineered system later in the year, but assures community members it will honour all points it has awarded to date. The company will continue to supply participating BzzAgents with the opportunity to experience a product personally at the start of each campaign.

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