Pests, Rewards and Hypocritical Marketers

Posted by Dave Balter on June 19th, 2006 in

In early 2002, we launched BzzAgent with the concept that we were going to turn the traditional loyalty model on its head, while organizing and measuring the most powerful medium on the planet: word of mouth. For years, marketers have “rewarded” consumers for a variety of spending habits. You could receive Starwood Points for staying in a Sheraton, Westin or W hotel, redeemable for upgrades to club floors or free additional stays. For using your American Express Card, you are rewarded with access to airport lounges – get enough points and you can even get a ride on a subsonic flight or cruise the Nile. Baseball fan? Get a Sports Loyalty Program membership and receive access to your favorite Dodger player – or throw out the first pitch. New Kid on the way? Get a Upromise account and start spending to save for education. We get rewarded for buying groceries [in exchange for providing the supermarket chain data, which is inherently more valuable when they sell it to product manufacturers!], for buying a car on memorial day weekend, sticking with one airline, getting your office supplies at Staples, filling your prescriptions at CVS, shopping at Banana Republic [extra socks with your shirts] or pumping gas [discounted car wash, anyone?]. We are rewarded so frequently that companies failing to reward customers are often at a serious disadvantage.

So, why not word of mouth? Why should rewards only be applied to your spending habits? Why can’t the reporting of the natural opinions you share with others – arguably more valuable than any individual spend – be rewarded as well?

The concept made quite a bit of sense [To me, at least. Not to many others in the early days.], and so we rolled out our model with the intent to make rewards a cornerstone of our process. In true affinity model fashion, the goal was to build an approach that could also drive significant revenue – not only would we design and implement word-of-mouth campaigns, but we’d sell product slots for exposure in our rewards system. For full campaigns, customers would be able to place their own brand-associated products to add value – publishers could add other Titles or beverage manufacturers could provide samples of next year’s flavors. Then, alongside client-supplied rewards, other brands could pay small incremental fees to have their products included in our rewards database, shown and then experienced by our BzzAgents. There’s the affinity: driving revenue from both sides of the model, and the consumer receives value, as well. We actually sold a few of these programs in the early days – my favorite being DVDs of Lesbian Victorian Romances [PG rated] for our program for the Lesbian Victorian romance novel, Fingersmith.

But, as with many new ideas, things don’t always turn out as planned. We succeeded wholly at developing an organized and measurable approach to word of mouth, but the rewards part of our process [at least as currently structured] has – in essence – failed. For starters, the majority of BzzAgents don’t want the rewards we offer. Almost 87% with enough points to redeem a reward never redeem a single point [an inverted model, for those who are in loyalty marketing], up from 70% just one year ago. No matter how much prodding or pushing we do, fewer BzzAgents are seeking rewards for their points. A very small subset – those in our program for freebies – continue to pursue the rewards, but the significant majority do not. We began offering rewards as donations to non-profits, and many seemed to like that, but the redemption rates didn’t change dramatically. In essence, somehow the “stuff” of our reward system doesn’t work like the “stuff” from a typical reward program.

So, what “stuff” is working? The value of our system to BzzAgents appears to be two-fold. Access to products and services and brands is a clear driver – who wouldn’t want to join the Philips campaign and receive a Sonicare Toothbrush to experience. But additionally, getting invited into a campaign – being acknowledged as having a valuable opinion – and then being able to communicate with others about involvement, being able to share knowledge, being about to submit reports to have a dialogue with the brand – that becomes the glue that holds this fascinating marketing technique together. In short, the social currency of involvement with brands that allow the consumer to be center stage is the true driver of a word-of-mouth ecosystem.

On top of this, we’re facing the next wave of wrath from those who are – for whatever reason – seeking flaws in our model. This is something of a “pedestal” problem: since we are the most recognized, most outspoken [sometimes to a fault] company in the space, we engender the bulk of the criticism. The latest critique is about rewards. Some people see claim foul because rewards may be synonymous with compensation! “Oh no,” cry hypocritical card-carrying, reward-obtaining consumers. Somehow sharing an honest opinion – with disclosure about involvement as a volunteer – is worse than spending our time figuring out how to get the Charbroil 3-burner 40,000 BTU outdoor barbecue grill from LinensnThings for $160, and telling everyone else about it.

For example, PR celeb Larry Weber took some shots at the “snorklers,” BuzzMetrics [couldn’t have anything to do with Larry joining BM competitor Communispace’s Board? No way!] and us, claiming our rewarding people for reporting word-of-mouth activities isn’t appropriate. Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell claim that, “Points programs are inauthentic and focus action on rewards,” but love Bike Friday which, among other things, gives people cold-hard cash for selling a bike to their friends. Whether Larry, Jackie or Ben really know what they’re talking about or not is irrelevant. What’s clear is there are those that believe our rewards infrastructure actually deteriorates the value of the approach we set out to harness. Somehow, the concept of rewards has evolved from something all consumers expect for their purchases, to something that is abhorrent when it comes to sharing your opinion. A fine line that is just becoming defined.

BzzAgent prides itself on continuous innovation of its model. No one has ever before built a fully-scalable word-of-mouth media platform, so there’s no roadmap. In order for us to get there, we’re going to have to be willing to continue to evolve in real-time. We evolved our disclosure policy from the early days of anonymity into the full enforcement of disclosure – effectively setting the highest bar for everyone else in the industry. Now it’s time to evolve the reward system. It isn’t working anyway, it attracts more pests to the system, and drives resentment from hypocritical Starwood-carrying, Amex-spending, free-rental-car-upgrade-loving, extra i-Tunes downloading, bonus-shot-of-coffee marketers.

So, changes are afoot. Keep an eye out.

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139 Responses to “Pests, Rewards and Hypocritical Marketers”

  1. im_red says:

    Finally going to say my thoughts. If cashing in my points makes me a “pest,” so be it. I also expect my boss to pay me when I perform as expected. I see nothing improper with using points you’ve awarded me. And the last two small rewards I’ve requested are not for me, not that I should have to justify accepting what’s been given to me. They’re going to some soldiers in Iraq I’ve adopted via anysoldier.com. Much of this seems very judgmental on bzzagent’s part. I live in a a capitalistic, materialistic society … and am spending my time helping your clients promote their products but requsting my rewards makes me a pest. And for those who haven’t requested rewards *yet* … let’s hope this discussion stays within the bzz community. I’d hate for my boss to think that because I haven’t used all my vacation days yet … I don’t want them, haven’t earned them and will have them reduced next year.

  2. "the infamous" kristin m says:

    im_red: your “anysoldier.com” idea is GREAT! I’m going to check it out right now!

    I don’t get the impression that BzzAgent considers point redemption to be pesty. They just want to revamp so it’s more pest resistant. The thing I REALLY don’t get is why so many agents polled that they don’t do it for the rewards. Maybe some ‘people fibbed out of guilt, or to please the Hive with the “right answer” ? That happens all the time. Maybe another poll is in order?

  3. "the infamous" kristin m says:

    The Sunday Times has a hil-AR-ious piece about “free stuff” – a pod coffee maker is discussed!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/magazine/25funny_humor.html?ex=1308888000&en=fec3a83919dbb119&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

  4. Anonymous says:

    Reading all of these posts has been very interesting–I think it’s funny that there seems to be a contingency of folks who think bzzagent is a non-profit. How dare people expect something in return for their time, effort and energy. Bad bzzagents! C’mon guys, do you think that bzzagent is working for these companies for free? In exchange for nationwide publicity on specific products for very little expense (coupons, product and maybe some inexpensive rewards)–how is bzzagent compensating their “employees (bzzagents)”? By doling out prizes piecemeal (you can’t win here–either you claim too many and you’re trying to cheat the system or you don’t claim enough and you’re a bad bzzagent for hoarding) at their leisure. I understand there are/were those who were trying to cheat the system, but c’mon couldn’t you have handled this in a more professional, better thought out manner?!?

  5. Jolara says:

    In all honesty, I didn’t read each and every response here. I skimmed through them. I just wanted to put in my 2 cents worth of an opinion. I heard about being a BzzAgent from a “freebie” site that I found from a “mom club”. They had “free Take 5 Candy Bars” on there. I read the BzzAgent information they presented about the company, who they are and what they do. I decided to join because I believe in word of mouth and I hope to help make a difference. As a BzzAgent I agree to try out the products at hand, tell my friends, family and strangers and write up a report about it. Personally, I feel receiving the products to test and getting coupons for future purchases are reward enough. I don’t need to be given any other gifts, points or whatever. I consider it an honor in a way that my opinion counts in making a difference to these companies in hopes of improving their products. I take being a BzzAgent seriously. If I didn’t want to give my opinion and the opinion of others in return for free product samples, I wouldn’t have signed up.

  6. BzzAgent Lisamfeerick says:

    I still say making a two-tired membership would solve everything. People who pay get preferantial access to what they want and people unwilling to pay still get to be members and have all the benefits they enjoy too – just maybe not quite as many and quite as fast although I doubt that would happen. if you set up two tiers, it will scare away the actual pests and maybe some folks who feel they are above the tier system and all that will be left will be the people who WANT to BZZ, anjoying BZzing and aren’t gonna try and stick it to the system.

    Still, I bet once those 10K pests go hasta la bye bye things will get better.

    I must admit that this entire siuation would not inspire confidence in me if I were considering throwing business Bzz Agents way. Perhaps you all might want to look at the way Pinecone does business and how quickly they ferret out panel members who are posting “tips and tricks” for beating the system on freebie boards. We Pinecone panel members are the ones blowing the whistle on those pests and we are rewarded with access to good campiagns and exciting products. Just think about that as well. It could work very well here.

    best of luck to you all with the changes. I’m gonna get back to bzzing – nothing more can be accomplished by continuing to comment. it’s all been said.

  7. BzzAgent Lisamfeerick says:

    Oops – one last thing – If that BzzAgent “Being Peter Kim” is my old pal Peter from my G/Litarati days in NYC – Dude, you need to call me! My number ain’t changed since I got married ( I don’t think) and neither has my addy (for sure). Me and my better half would love to see you and catch up. It would be SO like you to run into me here. Been to Pitcairn lately? Dave went to the Cook Islands – close but no cigar.

  8. gorkon says:

    Here’s my problem with both the campagns I have been getting and the rewards. First off, I am currently in the Nivea Campaign and the Folgers Smooth Campaign and of the two, the Nivea has been the one I buzzed about the most. Most of the people in my office including myself drink lots of coffee and drink regular coffee. I can’t personally think of a reason why folgers came out with this product. I also will only drink the lousy coffee at work (and the Simply Smooth is not the freatest stuff in the world)…when I drink outside work, I drink BETTER coffee….local micro roaster. Anyway, the biggest problem I have seen has been the surveys are abysmal. One of the recent ones I took had me ask if I had a child between age blah and blah and I had to click click click click….it was PONDEROUS! All of these coudl have been grouped in one set of check boxes but no we had at least 6 pages to click through. HORRIBLE DESIGN!

    Second, I have not gotten selected for campaigns that I have been honestly excited about. The HomeCafe was my first one and I still buzz it. When I joine, I had wish I had gotten in on the XM radio or some other more technically oriented campaigns. Techy things I still buzz even though they have never been offered here:

    My iPod
    iTunes Music Store
    PDA’s (all kinds)
    Laptops…
    UMPC’s

    Now I realize Apple has to come and offer you music cards and a campaign tp do this but I would be willing to:

    Try software
    Try other music players
    Get a good discount on a computer

    Just reviewing things….for example either a free or a laptop that needs to be returned and instead of buzzing it like crazy, writing a review and recording when I reccomend it to some people(bzzing…).
    I myself loved getting new products mroe then the rewards. Ihave been cashing points, but not because it was free…cuz I felt I deserved them.

  9. snowsparkles says:

    I have been a memeber of several different WOM organizations, and this is the one that I was actually satisfied with, the only one I have stuck with. I have no idea how long I’ve been a bzzagent, but I love it. I can introduce things to people who had no more idea about them before than I did, and then share my knowledge with them, and they can spread it on.
    I agree that it would be great to be able to see some of the reports from other agents during a bzz campaign. To keep them honest (meaning to keep people from cheating and just reading others’ reports then compiling a fake of their own), maybe open them up only to those agents that have already reported bzz on the campaign, and/or after the campaign has been going a certain length of time?
    I definitely wouldn’t like having to pay to participate for preferential treatment, I would probably quit just on the premise of the idea. Sure, the free samples make up for whatever you’d have to pay, but chances are I wouldn’t buy the things they’re giving me to sample and bzz because I wouldn’t know about them. Nor would I bzz the products as much, because I wouldn’t have the knowledge and people wouldn’t listen as much (some of my bzztargets like the fact that what they say about it will get heard by someone who cares, where as sending a message directly to the company may or may not do any good). I don’t have have a lot of extra money to spend, and if I would be excluded from many campaigns or fromteh best campaigns for not paying, then what would be my incentive to stay?

    The points system is a good one, despite the pests. Personally, I would like to participate in more campaigns, but very few have been offered me. How does that work? So maybe I wouldn’t be the IDEAL bzzagent for a campaign based on however you figure these things out, but maybe it’s something that I would LIKE to create good bzz about, something that I would ENJOY bzzing. Zenbunny (above) said that all their campaigns have been book campaigns; I would love a book campaign, because I read 4-5 books per month, sometimes more, but have never been offered a book campaign that I can remember. Some of the watcher campaigns have been things that I would have loved to participate in as well, but either they filled up or I wasn’t even aware of them until they were featured or I wandered onto the watcher campaign page. Can I change the profile you have of me to reflect myself better?

  10. WendyMc says:

    I too am confused by the hoarding issue. I wanted a reward (and a very low point reward at that) that seemingly vanished as they were approving my reports (I suspected foul play because the reports took so much longer to confirm than promised). I actually called the headquarters to complain and was told by a nice young woman that I should save my points so that I have enough when something good is posted (as opposed to filing reports and waiting for confirmation). (I am now hoping my phone call combined with my “hoarding” does not label me as a pest)

    I also agree that as long as BzzAgent is a commercial venture- then there is reasonable expectation that bzzagents should be compensated. You don’t do it for free- why should we?

  11. laurie says:

    I just hope the whole thing is straightened out soon and the pests are removed. One time I was talking with a friend/fellow Bzzagent about a reward that she wanted, but she said it was no longer offered. I told her I had just been checking out the rewards and the reward was still there (we were doing the same campaign). She insisted it wasn’t and told me to log on to her account and check. I logged into her account and under her Rewards section, she had hardly anything but Charity donations and a couple of very small, crappy rewards. I then logged out and back in as me and sure enough, I had the full gamut of great rewards to choose from. At the time we just thought it was some kind of system glitch, but now I know better — she must be/have been a suspected pest?? When will the witch hunt be over and honest Agents given a chance to prove they are legit??

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yes–when will the witch hunt be over? Bzzagent has done a TERRIBLE job at communicating and has not given “suspects” (and I use that term loosely since no official notification was issued) a chance to respond/prove their case. They sure are generating a LOT of negative publicity around their own company–if they think any publicity is good publicity they are as stupid as they seem to be.

  13. "The Infamous" Kristin M. says:

    The only people who think that hunting down pests is bad publicity are pests. BzzAgent does not owe pests a thing.

  14. katmae says:

    This has all gotten SO petty and childish!
    Name calling? Really how is that necessary?
    It’s dissapointing to think that all of you are adults and still behave this way.
    Bottom line is this, if you’re not one of the “pests” then you have nothing to worry about, sit back, relax and just keep checking the site for new campaigns or surveys!
    HAPPY 4th OF JULY EVERYONE!!

  15. "The Infamous" Kristin M. says:

    I dig it when people have strong opinions and share them. And thanks to BzzAgent for giving clients a forum.

  16. katmae says:

    Strong opinions are fine, immaturity and name calling just are not!

  17. Musticat says:

    I am pretty new to BzzAgent having only been a member for about 3-4 months. I’m currently participating in the Folger’s Simply Smooth Campaign and several BzzBlasts. I’m a big fan of coffee and love the Simply Smooth product. I also participate in the Penguin Book Bzz Blasts as I simply cannot ever read enough. I enjoy the BzzAgent process as it is fun to hear about new products before my friends do. Inevitably when I get together with my friends we do make product reccomendations to each other so WOM seems very natural to me. I’ve been buying stuff at friends/relatives reccomendations for years.

    What concerns me is the paranoia of being classified as a pest. I’m with most people in that I am saving my points in the hopes of getting some big ticket item rather than small items. Its more fun that way. Sort of like saving your money in a piggy bank when you were a kid. So what classifies one as a pest? You hoard your points? You file tons and tons of reports? You are not eloquent enough in describing the bzz that has occurred so you are thought to be lying? As I haven’t seen the answers to my questions, I’ve just decided to continue what I’m doing bzzing about books and coffee (two of my great faves in the world) and see what happens.

  18. disgustedbzzagent says:

    The problem I’ve noticed with Bzzagent.com and this “pest” situation:

    Lack of communication—
    1) who is a pest? hoarders? multiple people in one household? people who log in using the same computer?

    2) how do we know if we’re a pest? do they just not get offered any campaigns anymore?

    3) what about the polls and surveys? there are admitted pests who still have polls and surveys on their page regularly. is bzzagent using their answers as part of the stats they give clients? if so, you should quit giving them polls and surveys. it’s an “either or” situation. either you include them as part of bzzagent.com and give them bzzblasts at least or you don’t use their information.

    4)is there an appeals process? are they just going to mass delete every pest without even allowing them to appeal?

  19. Laurie says:

    I have to agree with the above poster re: lack of communication. For instance, they post this information here regarding pest activites, and then there are many, many legit Bzz Agents who come out and admit that, unbeknownst to them, they are guilty of some of these pesty actions, i.e., actually cashing in points for rewards, calling the offices, sending emails, having multiple Agents in the home, etc. But NOWHERE is it stated that any of these things are AGAINST THE RULES!!! So now we’re just left to wonder if we are on the dreaded PEST LIST? And nobody comes back to answer any of our questions!

  20. Test says:

    I have stopped answering BzzAgent poles. BzzAgent says if you answer poles you get points but then when I go to see what I can get for my points it says I cant get anything because I havent done any campaign, but BzzAgent has not provided me with any campaign (they offered me one campaign only which I could not do because it required testing the merchandise with equipment I do not have so rather than lie and claim I tested the product when I did not I declined that one campaign, however they say they have lots ofcampaigns but they dont seem to really have them. Also after this a bzzblast I have mysteriously disappeared from my home page, the bzzblast was worthless it was enter a sweepstakes and get nothing). It seems bzzAgent just wants me to answer poles for them for free and take up my time with no compensation. This is not honest of BzzAgent who gets people to participate by promising merchandise and points.

  21. Woah woah woah, lots of paranoid speculation and misinformation floating around here. Let me set some stuff straight: a “pest” is someone who is trying to take advantage of the BzzAgent system, period. If you’re not doing that, you won’t be put in that category, and you won’t be removed from BzzAgent. No one is put in to this category for hoarding their points, redeeming rewards, writing complaints, logging in to the same computer, living in the same household as another agent, or other things that are totally innocent and not against our rules.

    However, it is possible for innocent agents to get flagged for investigation; it’s unfortunate, we don’t want to alienate good agents, but it’s a necessary evil. As the previous sentence implies, these agents are investigated and if the pest-like behaviour that initiated the flag turns out to be innocent, they are taken off of investigation and are not put into the “pest” group.

    I’m sorry that we often have to be vague about this whole process. I’d love to lay it all out for you guys, so I could quell all the paranoia. If I explain the intricacies of the system though, it would give every “pest” the information necessary to fly under our radar, and that would be bad for all of us.

    I ask that you please take all of these “witch-hunt” allegations with a grain of salt. I’ve observed, on this blog and other places on the internet, some of the most blatant and vile “pests” claiming to be victims of BzzAgent. What does BzzAgent have to gain from accusing and therefor alienating the same agents that make this company such a great success?

    If you’re flying straight, you’re cool with us, don’t stress. If you’re one of the “pests”, your days are numbered!

  22. A. says:

    Oh, my, lots to think about in this blog.

    One solution to the issue of whether filing multiple reports in one day might make on a potential “pest:” state outright that you are filing 5 reports today because it’s your night off and you have the time. :) This being the start of a holiday weekend, I am taking a rare break from dissertation writing and have spent a good couple of hours on the BzzAgent website — filing reports, reading the blogs, and I even signed up for a new campaign!

    Re. the prizes: sure I want the Roomba, and I’m super motivated to try for it (another 62+ reports to go…). Ya know what, though? If it disappears before my 62 reports are filed — which could take at least three or four more campaigns, after all — I’d be happy to get the tea collection, too (and it’s only 100 points!). After all, the issue is a reward for a job well done, right? To me that means finding people who may be interested in the product and talking to them honestly about it.

    Then again, I’m lucky: being a Canadian member (I assume there aren’t terribly many of us at present), there are a good number of campaigns available to me. So far, no worries about being left in the lurch due to no campaigns to participate in!

    I love the statement made by one individual in this blog: BzzAgent is an opportunity to try new things. If one is too immersed in points-focused (or other-purpose-focused) Bzzing to be in the real world, then both the BzzTargets and the BzzAgent are being harmed in the Bzz process. As I tell my psychology students: BALANCE!

  23. laurie says:

    If filing multiple reports at one time is a form of pest-ism, then once again I am guilty. I normally keep notes about my Bzzz — date, time, to whom, etc. etc. and then once a week or whatever, I log on and submit all those Bzz reports in one shot. I wait until I have a big block of time to do it. So I don’t think submitting multiple reports is a good pest-indicator.

  24. Merrin says:

    This is saddning.. I usually bank my reward points because I rather get something I really want then something useless to me.. I think no matter what there are always gonna be pests.am I right?.. I havent even had a campaign for about 8 months now… I think taking this away is depressing … I really enjoyed evry aspect of word of mouth but now what will we get in return for our thoughts? I am signed up for a few companys that reward you with your opinions with points and its always nice.. But its more fun for me because I get to speak my opinion and now a days thats hard I buzz everyday about things as im sure most of you do too.. so whats gonna happen?? bzzangents arent exactley making things very clear ! do you think so?? I havent seen a campaign up for run in over a few weeks or more for new ones?only thing I have been in is bzzblasts and they are fun.. like the 20 q one.. im on that thing everyday playing. lol.. I do believe tho they should equally be putting out campaigns so people all have a shot.. mabey taking a survey first then deciding to qualify them from that? I dont know.. But my heart is broken ) :

  25. kbelloise says:

    (quote)
    laurie Says:
    July 1st, 2006 at 7:34 am
    If filing multiple reports at one time is a form of pest-ism, then once again I am guilty. I normally keep notes about my Bzzz — date, time, to whom, etc. etc. and then once a week or whatever, I log on and submit all those Bzz reports in one shot. I wait until I have a big block of time to do it. So I don’t think submitting multiple reports is a good pest-indicator.
    (/end quote)

    I usually do my bzz reports one at a time. When I feel I have something good to report I do it, usually within a day or two. I don’t report all the little bzzs, of which I have many and I know they want us to report all of them, but I just always feel that unless I have truly good story to tell then I don’t want to waste my time or bzzagent’s. ex: I was with a lady at the bus stop one day. She was looking kind of uncomfortable. She noticed me looking at her oddly and said, “I have heartburn from too much coffee.” I told her about Folgers new coffee. She said, “That’s nice.” I gave her a coupon. She said “Thanks.” end of story. Yeah, that’s bzz and yeah I have actually done that…LOL… but I just don’t feel it’s report worthy even though it would get me points. I don’t want them unless I feel I earned them. Some people might feel that even that kind of bzz deserves points if you report it, but this is just my own personal opinion.

    Anyway, today I had a really good bzzreport to submit. I had a truly great bzz day for the Duraflame charcoal. It was awesome. My best bzz to date on any campaign. I was so excited by it that even thought I was exhausted by the time I got home I wanted to report my bzz while I was still excited from it. So I logged in and began my bzzreport.

    I kept having to edit it because I had so much to say that it kept telling me it was too long and I had to edit it to make it shorter, so I edited it and the re-edited it and so on and so on until finally I shortened it enough that it met the guidelines and still, I thought, conveyed my excitement and what great bzz it was. So I hit “submit”.

    Well, it took me about a half hour to write that report. I guess that was too long, because I had timed out!! After I hit submit what I got was the login screen. I was so disappointed. My report was gone and now I have to start from scratch. I have lost my excitement so my report will not be the same now and I really don’t want to use the energy to do it all again, though I will do it again, it just won’t be the same.

    Anyhow, my point is… Tonight was so frustrating for me that, first of all I sent an email to jono to vent and I have decided that from now on I will use Word to type my reports and save them as I go. I will work on them when I have the opportunity without fear of getting timed out and losing the whole thing. If I am going to do reports this way, however….

    I may build up a few reports, saved on my PC, and then decide to submit them all at the same time. One after the other. When I made this decision I remembered reading a post on this blog with someone talking about how people submitting multiple reports in the same day may be pests and I just wanted to add my two cents.

    I will probably be submitting multiple reports in one day from now on. I just wanted to make a point to the other poster (not you Laurie, even though I quoted your post ) that submitting multiple reports in one day does not make you a pest. There are lots of reasons why people might be doing that and I just found out one of them for myself tonight. I won’t take the chance of spending a half hour writing and editing a report only to lose it and have to do it again. My hubby does his reports in 2 minutes LOL. He doesn’t have to worry about this happening to him. Me I like to tell a story. I will be doing my reports in Word from now on.

    BTW… I’m not worried that I might be percieved as a pest, so that is not the reason for this post. I know I’m not a pest and so does bzzagent. (Thankyou bzzagent :)

    I just wanted to explain to the other poster that there may be reasons why people submit more than one report in a day, as I just found out myself. Oh, and yeah, I wanted to vent a little about the being timed out thing!!!! That really upset me. But I’m over it now. I will just do my reports in Word first. :)

  26. A. says:

    Well said, kbelloise! Sorry you lost your great write-up.

    BTW, I’d be *so* shy about giving a stranger a coupon, and I think many others would be, too, so to me that DEFINITELY counts as you earning your buzz points. ;)

  27. edbson says:

    I agree, there are days that I don’t have time to report bzz, so I “save it” and report when I DO have time. This sometimes equals 2 reports in one day, 3 a week, etc. I also pass out coupons to strangers, and have reported it, but most often it is not reported. I hope bzz agent straightens this all out soon and everything goes back to “normal”.

  28. kbelloise says:

    Just wanted to add to my post above. Yesterday I submitted 3 reports. (I had a busy weekend with duraflame…LOL) I did the first one in word and then went to the bzzagent website and copied and pasted it into the little window and hit submit. I left the bzzagent website open, not even thinking, and went back to word to do my second report. I worked on that for a while, and then did my last one. Then I went back to the bzzagent site and I was still logged on. I only had to cut and paste both reports in and I was done.

    How come I didn’t get timed out this time? Maybe that other report took alot longer than I thought. I don’t know. I just thought it was kind of strange. I expected to have to log in again, but I didn’t.

    Oh well, I’m still gonna do my reports in word first anyway. I’m not gonna take that chance again.

  29. Heather says:

    Do you know the exact same thing happened to me when I was a “new Bzz agent”? It might have been my first report, all I know is that I spent a long time detailing every aspect of the BZZing I had done and I was very excited and wanted to be sure to include all the details. When I hit submit, I was told my report was too long, I kept trying to shorten it and edit it without having the report lose the relvant information and after trying a few times to submit and I kept being told it was still too long, I somehow lost it and had a blank page.
    So I had to retype my BZZ report, only this time I did make it much shorter because I too had lost the initial excitement I had, I also told BZZ agent about this, I told them that if they want accurate details in our BZZ report, we should not be limited to how many words we can type, I also told them how my initial report was the “accurate version” and how this second report I now had to type was the brief version since I was very annoyed that my first report somehow disappeared off the screen after trying to edit it (since it was too long).
    Anyway, I just wanted to add that I totally understand where you are coming from and I told BZZ agent about this. Since then I have not had that problem, I try to keep my reports shorter since I know I am limited to how many words I can type but I really don’t think there should be a limit if BZZ wants accurate, detailed good BZZ reports. At least maybe there should be a word counter as we are typing so we know if we are typing “too long” of a report and we do not spend our time in vain.

  30. Roxy says:

    I have been a BzzAgent for about hmmmm……. over a year. Soon there were 2 campaigns I could join. One didn’t interest me so I passed, the other I joined and still use the product to this day! I was disapointed to find out when the campaign ended so did my opportunity to get rewards from it. I have almost 300 points from last year still sitting there because until reacently I was never offered another campaign. So hopefully I can finally turn my points in for a reward once I get my BzzReports for my current campaigns accepted. I want the rewards, I just couldn’t get them!

  31. Valkurja says:

    I have been a BzzAgent for about 2 years or so. I am an outgoing person (to put it mildly) and very vocal (major understatement) so “Bzzing” is something I have always done – joining BzzAgent just makes my WOM more official. I am a full-time student at Washburn University in KS and am gunning for law school. At 41, with children at home ranging from 21 down to 16 months-old, my life is total chaos but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being mom-student-wife-whateverelseanyoneneeds gives plenty of opportunities to talk up (or down) anything that I might be Bzzing ATM. I still Bzz products from past campaigns – I mean if it is good, why should an expired campaign prevent me from sharing information/opinions? I Bzz so often but don’t always take the time to write up a Bzzreport (my bad, I am working on being more efficient – hang with me). In other words, I do not do this just for the rewards or for the product samples; I like trying new things and talking about them (good or bad) and I really appreciate getting to try something out I might hesitate to purchase without having experienced it first. But this thread is about REWARDS, so I am getting back to it (deal with me here, I always beat around the bush before going in)…I have never commented in the BeeLogs before, just another perpetual “lurker” but this thread has kinda bothered me. I will still be a happy BzzAgent if no rewards were given, but I like earning the rewards. I have noticed some of the bigger offerings (like the Roomba – I want one, but I dunno) but I never really intend to save my Bzzpoints for something big, I just let them accumulate and if something catches my eye that I have enough points for, I’ll redeem it. The rewards have been little bright spots in my life and the lives of my children. We must live frugally (school for me is VERY expensive) and we don’t often have a whole lot of extra money for treats and goodies. In the past two years I have redeemed points for a hand-held fishing game that became a Christmas present for my oldest son – he LOVES this silly game and to this very day, it sits near his chair and at almost anytime he can be found watching tv and “fishing”. I redeemed some points for a bracelet (some designer name, I can’t remember) for my eldest daughter loved; she doesn’t wear it anymore but it has found a permanent home on the wrist of Pinky, her stuffed rabbit she has had since she was 2. More recently, I received one of the Harry Potter DVDs which is now my 2 year-olds absolute favorite and it must be watched several times per week. About 2 weeks ago, I had enough points to redeem for a really nice 5 book set of Harry Potter (I just got it 2 days ago), and this is what has prompted my comment – this set of books is WONDERFUL! I wanted it to add to a small library of books I share with my children, a collection of stories that I loved as a child and some that I found as an adult and only wished I had read as a child. I guess what I am trying to say is for some folks it might just be a set of paperbacks, but for me it is an addition to a legacy. This set of books is sitting still unwrapped on top of our entertainment center and has become an object of wonder and adoration. I know it sounds silly, but my entire family is really appreciative of this “gift”. Gift is how I think of the things I get to choose and receive as rewards from BzzAgent. Each and every one of them became a little piece of sunshine to whomever in my family it was bestowed. I think the books were only something like 280 points but as nice as this set is I would have expected it to be much more, and we noticed that it cost almost 10$ just to ship it here. When we noticed that, I felt a little bit guilty, I mean were my little reports really worthy of such an awesome reward? I guess they must have been, because here the books sit. So……THANK YOU BZZAGENT!!! For giving me “legitimate” reason to run my mouth and blab with perfect strangers, for letting me try products I might not otherwise get to, for letting me be a small part of something that has enriched my life in ways I could never really explain (suffice it to say my experience as a BzzAgent has really helped me out in school), and for the really great rewards I get to pick out. I really like the rewards. I hope that BzzAgent finds a way to keep the reward program. But if not, I still have license to chatter freely, afterall I am a bonafide BzzAgent!!!

    Valkurja

  32. I’m a Bzz Agent because of the enjoyment of talking to people and seeing their faces when you give them a coupon. I’m not saving up my points, sure I have plenty of points but I also order quite a few Bzz Rewards if they are still there when I’m ready to order that certain Bzz Reward but unfortunately they go too fast. I’ve missed out on plenty of Bzz Rewards that I would have loved and I was quite upset when I missed out on one I really wanted for my husband. I put in my Bzz Report the very first day the Campaign was offered and I joined, when my Bzz Report was reviewed the very next day the Bzz Reward was gone. As I said I’m a Bzz Agent mainly because it is a lot of fun but when and if I really want a reward and it’s already out of stock hours after it is offered that is a bit of a disappointment, especially if the Bzz Reward was for someone else and not for me. I also give to things like Habit for Humanity and things like that, if I think it is a good one to give to. Actually we don’t have enough Bzz Rewards out there to be picked from at all so don’t think we are doing anything wrong by having a lot of points, I have around 8000 points but I have also ordered and received about 10 out of the 15 Bzz Rewards I ordered within the last month or so. My husband loved the Harry Potter books I only wish that they were they hard cover books, the kind we like to buy and add to our library. I think paper back books look cheap when you have a special library type room in your house and I refuse to buy paper back books! I only ordered the Harry Potter one’s for my husband but the next time the hard cover set is on sale I’m still going to purchase it! He just purchased the latest Harry Potter book in hard cover a few days ago and read the 700 or so pages in a day and a half!!!!!

  33. ArtsyAndi says:

    I joined bzzagent because I have always been the type of person to tell everyone around me about the great products I find. Whether it is a good book, a great skin cleaner, a fantastic vacuum… I have an odd compulsion to telling everyone that I know about it.

    Because of this, I would be the first to say that getting a free product to try out should be enough. Unfortunately, SOME (not all) of the “samples” given during the campaigns have gone downhill, and with no good reward for reporting, I question sometimes whether I should bother on those campaigns.

    For example, I was very excited to get onto the Listerine Whitening campaign. I actually bzzed the product and sent in reports several times before I even received the kit. Upon opening it I learned that I only received 2 days worth of the product for myself and a handful more to pass out to people I talk to. I will continue to tell everyone about the strips. They are a fantastic product. However, I won’t have any incentive to report back on the bzz I’ve created (Typing up articulate reports can take up a lot of valuable time for a full-time grad student/ full-time employee) unless I am receiving some form of compensation for it. Maybe that’s wrong, but my time is valuable.

    On a positive note, I do like the new system. I am glad to see that there is an effort being made to get rid of people abusing the system. I also like the idea of the Participation and Quality scores because it gives me some positive feedback for sharing information in a way that supports the continuation of BzzAgent.com. Keep going with the changes… they are great.

    But please try to bring the rewards system back in SOME way. It is frustrating to turn in hundreds of legitimate reports and stockpile thousands of points with nothing to spend them on (I am currently a Tier 3 agent with 2214 points). I’m holding out for more than a pot of lipgloss (which I can buy myself) or a donation to a charity (I already donate to the not-for-profit I work for)… and unfortunately, I don’t play poker. We all have our reasons for being hoarders. :)

    Sincerely,
    BzzAgent ArtsyAndi

  34. Daniel says:

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Pests, Rewards and Hypocritical Marketers, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  35. Susan Powers says:

    I also honestly share my bzz products with my friends and coworkers. I report and I have a lot of points. I am not “hoarding” points. I am waiting for an item that I want to redeem my points on. I worked for them in the way of writing a report or reports. Recently there hasn’t even BEEN any rewards unless you count charity, which as another person wrote is something I do anyway. It’s as if one day my employer decided “guess what, this week you don’t get a paycheck, you get to give money to charity” I think bzzagent management is turning the tables, playing cop out because they don’t have rewards to offer.

  36. Peridot says:

    I am disappointed by the whole points issue. To offer a reward for doing something, and then get called a “pest” for asking for the reward is wrong.

  37. roseofblack25 says:

    I’m completely fine with the way bzzagent is right now! I love it. I always get excited when I am offered campaigns. I think I have done three so far and I joined in August 06. I too save up my points just because, I don’t really need a reward for doing this I feel like its a reward enough to get to test out products for free before I spend my hard earned money to try something out and hate it. I have redeemed for one prize though a skillet from the capital one campaign I think it was, but only because I am collecting some stuff that I need for when I move this summer to go to College. I have also recruited my sister into joining bzzagent. Overall I think this is a great place keep up the great work guys!

  38. magzaci com says:

    My best bzz to date on any campaign.
    There are flaws in every company, no?