Online Influencers: The new SEO (a.k.a snake oil)?

I just stumbled across this Information Week article on Online Influencers. (link is to the less-sucky print view. My God guys, could you have more obnoxious ads?)

The article provides a decent overview of the pros and cons of influencer programs… it stirkes me that some marketers quoted in the story arelooking for short cuts (thus the snake oil comment). Is an influencer co=opted by “the man” still influential? Probably not.

Scott Wilder of Intuit (one of my favorite communiteers) provides some good commons sense towards the end of the article:

Intuit made a choice not to simply target influentials, and certainly not to use the communities as an explicit marketing tool. Instead, the community is managed from within the product development part of the business, and users interact with the actual developers and product managers who are working on the software.

“That was a very conscious decision on our part,” said Scott K. Wilder, group manager of the small business online community at Intuit. “It was our belief that we’d have more credibility and that more users would use the site that way.” Not incidentally, the power of any word of mouth that results from these efforts is much greater, he said.

Too bad InfoWeek didn’t contact Sean O’Driscoll who runs the MS MVP program… he has one of the most interesting influencer programs I’ve seen.

Bill Johnston - Founder, Structure3C. Former Head of Community at Dell & Autodesk. Mobile: (415) 233-6914 Twitter: @billjohnston LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/billj In a sentence: Seasoned online community and social media executive and advisor with over 15 years experience developing large scale online communities, social media initiatives and successful online product strategies.
7 comments
  1. oooh…I will just have to blog this 🙂 Will also have our PR folks reach out to information week, maybe I can talk to them.

    sean

  2. I never got around to blogging this…working on it now. In the past few weeks I’ve met Ben McConnell, Dave Balter and Ed Keller – all quoted in this original article. Look for something soon.

    sean

  3. Hello

    Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!

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  4. […] May, Bill Johnston blogged a response to an article in Information week and suggested they should have talked to me as well – thanks for […]

  5. […] May, Bill Johnston blogged a response to an article in Information week and suggested they should have talked to me as well – thanks for […]

  6. Great post.

  7. […] May, Bill Johnston blogged a response to an article in Information week and suggested they should have talked to me as well – […]

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