Influence Is A Two Way Street

05/04/2013 08:06


Influenster is a program where ordinary folks review products.  You are asked to take surveys, review products, ask and answer questions, participate in social media events (like Twitter parties, which I really don't like by the way)  You are asked to share, share, share.  You are asked and asked to post on instagram, facebook, pinterest, twitter, tumblr, youtube, your own website and blogs,  etc...  You are asked to take pictures, make videos, write blogs, etc... You are asked to post on the brand's website and social media sites.  You asked to enter the brands contests.  You are asked to do a lot.  You are asked to risk your social network by "spamming" them with a bombardment of product comments and reviews.  


After you do all this, there is no guarantee you will get any actual products to review.  It was brought to my attention, Influenster really only wants to work with young people.  But they won't tell you that.  They will allow you to jump through the hoops and post and post with the misguided hope that maybe you will be rewarded. 


And the reward?  You get a box  with a few products.  Sometimes, just a sample.  The products are nothing special.  Ordinary drugstore products.  Last round the box contained 1 can of spray on moisturizer, 1 tube of toothpaste and mouthwash, 1 box of witch hazel wipes, 1 box of sugar substitute and a cookie.  ( there was one little individual package of a breakfast cookie. ) Don't misunderstand me, I love trying new products.  Any product.  I am grateful for every single product big or small.  My point is, Influenster is not bestowing rare gifts worthy of the Three Wise Men.  They are giving us products that are readily available to all of us.  (I actually really liked most of the products they sent me.  You can read my reviews here.


After you receive your box you are expected to post and post and post more for another 2 months and they will tweet and email you about this.  Constantly.  


They treat their members poorly especially considering how much they expect of their members.  They absolutely think they are doing you a favor by sharing these little crumbs with a few chosen members.  They are not pleasant to deal with at all.  They screwed up with me and then accused me of being "confused".  (I was able to show them screenshots to support my position, trust me, there was no apology)  They are not professional or supportive at all of their members.  It almost feels like the members are the annoying part of their business.  The members are the part of their business they have to "endure" instead of the valued component of their business that makes it all possible.  They do not value their members at all in my opinion, they exploit them.  


When I alerted them to a potential problem, they weren't appreciative at all.  It turns out some of their members have organized to manipulate the system.  They give themselves an unfair advantage over others.  This isn't good for the brands they are promoting or the program.  Any manipulation is wrong and taints the process.  Influenster's only response was that it was out of their hands.  To me, it would seem worthwhile to shut it down.  Perhaps let members know they will not tolerate cheating and manipulating the process?  Clearly, they don't care.  They don't care about the brands or about their members.   They also didn't appreciate my pointing out this potential threat to the very legitimacy of their program.


After my first and last box, after I did all the postings, I tried to contact them.  I tweeted, emailed and posted 3 times to their "support" page.  I recieved no answer.  nada. zip.  Obviously, they are not a program who values their members or who appreciated my input. 


There are so many legitimate brand reward programs out there.  I have signed up with a few.  These sites operate very professionally.  They actually limit the amount of posts you can do so as not to appear as spam or to annoy your audience.  They treat their members like gold.  They are professional, courteous and responsive.  (Buzz Agent is a good site!  Bloom is the gold standard as far as I am concerned. )  


And here is the thing: Influenster chooses "influencers" as their members.  Influence works both ways.   When they treat their members badly, the members can use their influence against them and the brands!  It is really a dumb way to treat people who have influence. It is a bad way to run a business in general.   Influenster gets a gigantic THUMBS DOWN.   Stay AWAY!  


*This review is limited only to influenster and not the brands who they represent.   Some of the brands have been extraordinary and I stand by reviews!  These are by opinions and based solely on my experience.