So about 2 years ago, the New York Times magazine ran an article about how companies are hiring "brand advocates" - unpaid consumers to whom they send their products in return for the consumers spreading the word about the product.
Now the program was originally supposed to work like a frequent flier program only the companies found that no one was redeeming their points. Were the rewards too shoddy? Not at all. It was just that the "brand advocates" were so happy to do the job they didn't even want the rewards. Being first to have the product was reward enough. They enjoyed telling others about the new products and having them before their friends did. Even if the product in question was a new brand of sausage.
Free advertising. Pretty amazing model.
And lo and behold, it's still alive, as our friend and frequent foil, New Media Rebbe Joseph Jaffe shows us in a recent post. It seems Reb Jaffe is the recipient of some sort of new hip-but-unfortunately-not-an-iPhone device from Sprint. And that Sprint is giving out these devices to New Media Rebbes like Joe Jaffe in the hopes that they will mention them on their blogs. Thus providing free advertising for Sprint and their hip-but-unfortunately-not-an-iPhone device. Now Jaffe, like the subjects of the New York Times article, gets into this wholeheartedly, with several pictures of himself holding up the Not-An-iPhone phone and smiling for the camera. Providing free advertising with copyright-free images for Sprint.
It's almost enough to make a media agnostic find G-d.