Viacom alienating its citizen marketers

March 13, 2007 at 10:23 pm (politics, theory)

So it looks like Viacom has decided to sue YouTube for showing clips of Comedy Central shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. What’s interesting, however, is that another Viacom property, CBS, has been using YouTube to show clips and drum up interest in its shows. CBS would seem to be ahead of the curve.

Honestly, there’s no stopping the influx of content onto the web now that the tools are in the hands of the people (not to sound Marxist or anything…it’s really a more democratic process). Bottom line, Viacom is waging a costly battle—should they win, they could be loosing out on millions of free advertising revenue—should they loose, they’ve lost close to a million marketers.

I’ve just gotten a hold of the book Citizen Marketers, by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, the minds behind creatingcustomerevangelists.com, the bible on citizen-created content and the 1% rule. Their theory, which I happen to adhere to, is that there’s no such thing as controlling the content that users will put out there—they will do it whether you want them to or not—and the content that they create will influence other potential users/customers.

It’s now become standard practice for me to see what other users are saying about a product before I buy it—and I find these reviews to be more trustworthy in most cases. If 100 people say that a product is worth buying, it influences me more than a possibly biased mainstream media review. With more and more media conglomeration, it’s becoming too difficult to tell where your information is coming from—and citizen marketers are bringing more certainty to the process.

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