on the Topic of Full Disclosure:

A beBee Brand Ambassador is – in functional terms – a ‘subsidized spokesperson‘ (The underlying deal is: “If you market beBee effectively, we’ll give you equity in the platform”).

  • LinkedIn actually calls them “Influencers
  • beBee calls them “Brand Ambassadors

Under the circumstances …

Shouldn’t a subsidized spokesperson reveal their relationship when they comment or publish?

Ethical Perspective

Perhaps beBee could reinforce the trust factor – and the brand – by automatically appending “BeBee Brand Ambassador’ (or “beBee Subsidized spokesperson”) to the nametag of any bBBA who publishes or comments within their platform.

  • Every beBee Brand Ambassador should identify themselves as such in their byline
  • A nice-to-have would be for beBee Brand Ambassadors to provide a disclaimer, as to their subsidized spokesperson relationship, in the body of their articles and comments – no matter what the platform.

The same recommendations, of course, apply to LinkedIn Influencers … because this is a Two-Way Mirror.

Influencer Marketing :  “… focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.” — Wikipedia

Insidious form :  “Stealth marketing, also known as buzz marketing, is any marketing strategy that advertises a product to people without them knowing they are being marketed to (See also Buzz Marketing). There are many techniques in stealth marketing, the most common being product placement and undercover marketing.” — Wikipedia


My Full Disclosure:

1) I have no big problem with the idea of equity-in-exchange-for-work, but I do believe that there are some ethics that should be employed in the doing of it (see above).

2) I continuously advocated that LinkedIn should employ some form of compensation for its ‘volunteer’ Group Managers who

  • made LinkedIn successful as a ‘professional’ socialNet in the first place,
  • did a lot of work, continuously, and
  • were not well-supported (tools, structure, process, etc.) by the enterprise that profited from their labor

3) I spent several months (unsuccessfully) trying to convince beBee that design and usability insights might also qualify for their equity subsidy ‘ambassadorship’ program. No luck.

In fact, beBee top management responded to my “Mirror analysis” by characterizing my contribution as “reporting bugs

(Headslap. Eyeroll. Sigh.) That’s what I call ‘a nonversation’.

Given the source and the quality of the response from beBee management, I realize that there’s not see much point in advocating about the ‘equity value’ of crowdSourced usability, design, or analysis at beBee any further.  Though I’ll probably continue to comment on the many ways in which things don’t work.

The best we can say is that

‘Usability design indifference” is an attitude that beBee and LinkedIn both share.

© The Communication Studio LLC