Wondering if anyone has been following the "Scamville" thread on TechCrunch over the last week. For background, here's where it started
I'm not closely connected to the incentivized marketing world, but it strikes me that the kinds of offers we were all doing for free iPods a few years ago have largely migrated to new platforms, like the casual games offered by Zynga (complete an offer, get "free" reward points).
Arrington has been targeting OfferPal, Facebook, Myspace, and Zynga for a business model that delivers a lot of bad traffic & leads and tends to mislead their users. Initially, OfferPal rebutted Arrington loudly and clearly, but in the intervening week, each of these companies has rapidly retreated from their former strategies.
OfferPal replaced their CEO, and their new CEO acknowledged a lot of "regrettable" mistakes. Zynga has committed to removing scammy offers.
What do you all think this means for incentivized marketing? Such a visible indictment of that business model can't be positive overall, but will this change things much outside of the platforms named above?
Arrington is right about a lot of things, and generally right in his initial article. But, he's very wrong about quite of lot of what he wrote. The incentivized industry is alive and well. The sites themselves are not necessarily scammy, it's the offers themselves. And, give the relative ease of creating and promoting an offer, it's not very surprising that there are so many scammy offers.
The fact that those companies (Zynga and OfferPal) retreated so quickly is more an indication of their suckling at Arrington's teet more than anything else.
i found the whole thing pretty funny
you can sneak a small number of leads past most any merchant but if you're talking about making real money (which the networks at issue certainly are) then there isn't a meaningful way to hide the quality. fact is, if the advertiser knows how to monetize these leads then they're going to ask for more. the proof is in the pudding people have always vilified incentive traffic, and simultaneously many people have quietly banked on it and build real advertiser relationships in the process.
arrington is highly presumptuous to make the assumptions he makes about the demographics and motivation of the users taking these offers. my own demographics at FC surprise me sometimes, and are rarely in line with what other people assume or see on sites like compete.com
I always assumed the advertisers weren't just stupidly channeling dollars into incentivized traffic all these years.
My question now is still how bad this becomes for OfferPal and others. Zynga is removing all in-game offers. Can they just pick up new inventory elsewhere?