Cautionary tales about Social Marketing are as old as humankind. (Remember Adam and Eve? They lost their home after acting on bad advice about what to eat.) While technology has made information more available, finding good recommendations from people you can trust is still a challenge. Angie’s List provides reviews, but by whom? Will your Facebook friends help you find a plumber when that pipe breaks at 3 a.m.? In this talk, we’ll compare consumer review services and social networks, and learn how to avoid the bad apples. We’ll learn about the Federal Trade Commission’s crack-down on deceptive advertising, and what it means for bloggers, reviewers and advertisers. Business owners will learn how to use online reviews to get new customers. Whether you’re a consumer, advertiser, business owner or blogger, there is something in this talk for you.
Joel Vergun — pilot, technology trend-spotter and Internet entrepreneur — will share his research and insights on Social Marketing with LA2M on March 31st. In the 1990’s, Joel co-founded the local internet service provider mich.com, an affordable alternative to AOL for dial-up internet access. He created FreeList.com before anyone had heard of Craig’s List. Joel sold his interest in mich.com before the dot-com bust of 2000, and landed a job flying for United Airlines. While there, he served the needs of fellow pilots by creating GrabMyTrip.com and PilotsUnited.com. After two United jets were turned into terrorist weapons on 9/11, Joel returned to active duty to command C-130 transport planes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now done flying, Joel helps local businesses create winning web sites, and has several on the first page of Google Search. His latest endeavor, DishFish.net, is about “recommendations from people you know" — combining social networking with consumer reviews.