Bonanzle Action Club – Creative Word of Mouth Marketing

As i have written previously here on the Trading Assistant Journal, Bonanzle is the marketplace venue which has a new fresh outlook and web 2.0 feel. Part of being Web 2.0 is including community and social marketing as part of the overall business plan.  Bonanzle has taken this idea and its very enthusiastic member base and created a new type of marketing initiative.

The Bonanzle Action Club

It is a brilliant way to get the best advocates or in today's corporate speak "evangelists" to go out into the Internet universe and promote your company for free.  This particular "Action Club" is made up of 50 of the most active members/sellers of Bonanzle. These members are ready to promote the company at a moments notice and they are happy to do it simply because they are aware of the effect of community marketing.

The tasks these select members perform change from week to week. Most certainly they will be more effective as a group of 50 marketers than if they were only one or two.  It is a brilliant idea and I applaud Bill and Mark at Bonanzle for hatching it before our eyes.

Here are some of the specifics of the club:

Each week, every BAC member will be given one actionable objective to help Bonanzle grow. The task will never take more than 20 minutes of your time. Some examples of a BAC objective might include: post a comment about Bonanzle on a specific forum or blog; email a specific media person to tell them to feature the site; or Digg some article about the site.

We will email you at the beginning of each week to let you know what the week's action objective is. The objective will also show up in the list of BAC objectives (accessible via "My Bonanzle"). When you complete the objective, you check it off your list, and your karma + Bonanzle cred increase a notch.

We should be clear that joining the BAC is an important commitment. If you are considering signing up, you should be willing and ready to follow through on the objectives. We are limiting enrollment to 50 people, so that we only keep people on board who feel that Bonanzle is worth 15-20 minutes of their time per week.

I became aware of this new marketing initiative through the comments section of this blog. Suddenly I was innundated with positive comments about Bonanzle coming through my Blackberry. Apparently the Trading Assistant Journal was listed in this weeks to do list for the BAC.

Taking a cue from politics I can certainly the power of many when it comes to getting out the word, either for a company or candidate.

Congrats to Bonanzle!

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0 Responses to Bonanzle Action Club – Creative Word of Mouth Marketing

  1. Hillary October 27, 2008 at 7:28 pm #

    I figured they had set up a street team. I have to admit though, it really turns me off. They are posting on things that are barely relevant. If the article is about Google and I just mention Bonanzle writing a big gooey love letter to Bonanzle in the comments is no better than spam in my opinion. Promote if you want and I am glad that you are excited but common internet courtesy still applies.

  2. Henrietta October 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm #

    I think you were noticed because you have written some fair and balanced posts on Bonanzle. I know for a fact it has gotten you some new readers.

    I am a BAC member and to date we have not been asked to post to a specific forum or blog despite what was apparently said.

    We have been asked to post to a ‘free’ trading site in specific markets with a link to our Bonanzle booth. To write a letter to the editor of our local newspaper suggesting an article about Bonanzle instead of yet another rehashed eBay article. To make a Google search for Bonanzle and comment if appropriate.

    We are asked to do one promotional thing a week for 20 minutes or less.

    I promise you that the vast majority of Bonanzle Action Club members are very busy & ethical people, who would not knowingly promote span commenting.

  3. Just A Thought October 27, 2008 at 10:20 pm #

    What the BAC is doing is merely coordination of what, in all likelyhood, would occur naturally. How many early eBay ‘addicts’ did the same thing – telling friends (this was pre-blog, remember), sharing URLs, commenting on the ‘neat site’ they’d found.

    All the BAC is doing, from what I’ve read, is overseeing what would happen naturally anyway. This may prolong the honeymoon period, when a relationship is new and everything has a rosey glow… but most people are too smart to let themselves be used for mere publicity. The folks BAC would want commenting would be those specifically aware of the value of their comments, and one would hope, specifically aware of thier responsibility to the greater community of readers.

    I say – BRAVO! Why shouldn’t the little guy get to do what Madison Avenue’s been doing for years and years? BRAVO!

  4. Mary October 27, 2008 at 10:54 pm #

    Bonanzle is the best option for marketing and honest sellers, the owner made the site so easy and affordable for all.. so that is America Dream start a easy but real $$$$ business …
    The real seller and buyer can made a comment and buy without trouble, the payment to the site is 100% less at ebay and less trouble too…
    and the owner is also 100% looking and caring for the site so for me is the best venue over the net

    Bravo !!! Mark

    Ty
    MARY
    yellowsand1964

  5. Paula October 27, 2008 at 11:00 pm #

    I could not get in on the BAC, so I do not know the specific tasks. It looks like a grass roots generation in the virtual world. I think it’s great. The positive energy that Bonanzle exhibits is genuine. Hopefully, they can stem the tide of the disgruntled ebay convicts.

  6. Bill October 27, 2008 at 11:55 pm #

    Hillary,

    As a blog owner, it’s your choice about what you think constitutes “spam” and “relevant.” If you think it’s the former, you’re welcome to remove the comment(s), as you probably did.

    But most of the time, if someone Googles “Bonanzle,” they are hoping to learn more about what Bonanzle is, so I think that in most cases, it is relevant to hear what Bonanzle users have to say about the site in a result one would find when Googling “Bonanzle.”

    There’s no question that the efforts of the BAC have done a tremendous favor in helping to grow Bonanzle so far. The BAC proves that grassroots efforts can still go toe-to-toe with the highly funded advertising campaigns of other sites.

    Bill

  7. gazouteast October 28, 2008 at 3:59 am #

    In the long run, this type of action may work against Bonanzle on search ranking.

    If Google get wind of this, and they will, they will begin tracking this type of activity and could classify it the same way as paid-clicking or link-exchanging with irrelevant sites.

    That type of cross linking gets ranking points demotion rather than promotion. A key factor in how this progresses from Google’s point of view may be how cosy eBay gets/stays with them or Yahoo.

    If Google gets too big a hump with eBay, they might “overlook” such co-ordinated and site-sanctioned activity as described in the article. On the other hand, if they get too cosy to eBay, they may simply rank all blog links to Bonanzle as spam-linking.

    It’s a fine line to draw and BAC members need to use extreme prudence in how and where they promote Bonanzle.

    Another risk they run is that over time they build up a spam ranking for Bonanzle on blog spam blockers such as Akismet. It could happen that with too many bloggers clicking the Akismet spam button in WordPress installations, that Bonanzle becomes a recognised “spam site” within such tools.

    All just cautions to those involved. Personally, I have no objection to CONTEXT RELEVANT posts mentioning Bonanzle in reply to any blog post, on any blog. But if they are irrelevant and obviously just there for site promotion, I’d be mightily p’d off that my valuable daily reading and browsing time was being wasted.

    Gaz

  8. Rykar October 28, 2008 at 6:13 am #

    I am proud to be a Bonanzler and a BAC member!

    Today is my first month anniversary with Bonanzle. This has been a wonderful 30 day experience. No where else on the web are you able to sell and have no holds barred communication with other seller’s and buyers. No paranoia when it comes to email addresses and off site links. No where else can you post on a community board and know the true identity of the poster. Is that why you haven’t said “Hello” on the boards, Hillary? No hidden agenda ID’s on Bonanzle.

    Hillary, you write a great blog! What I don’t understand is your disapproval with everything Bonanzle does.
    You mentioned you have a booth on Bonanzle. Basically set up for food for your blog’s. But, did you mention you never do any promoting? Why don’t you give it 100% and see what happens? Why are you so negative? What is there about promoting a new exciting marketplace for sellers and buyers that is simple to use and friendly that makes you so unhappy?

    BAC and spamming Google. Before BAC was set into motion the same member’s were out there promoting Bonanzle on bay boards, bytes columns and of course blog’s. This is nothing new. Being BAC member’s we learned where to express those same feelings of high regard for Bonanzle more effectively. Bill and Mark do not give us canned dialogue to post with. These comments come from our gut! Hold’s true with how we feel about eBay. There aren’t to many happy camper ebayer’s, I take exception for you Hillary.

    Hillary, Bonanzle might not trip your trigger but is does mine and many. many others. You may as well cut Bonanzle some slack because it’s here to stay and grow regardless, of your negative blog’s.

    Rykar

  9. Sandy October 28, 2008 at 6:33 am #

    Good points of view from both angles. As a BAC member, I am delighted to participate in promoting the site in ways that reach more people than just my own friend-to-friend and neighbor-to-neighbor efforts.

    If Hershey’s chocolate came out with a chocolate bar for a nickel that was low fat and tasted delicious, guess how many people would be posting about that…

    To me, Bonanzle is the next best thing to that chocolate bar!

  10. Scott Pooler October 28, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    @ gazouteast

    I think you may be over stating a bit. Each of these BAC members is posting from a different IP with different email and website addresses.

    If one or two get tagged as spam, and I have no idea why they would, since they are posting positive comments without links which are obviously human generated, those spam tags will not revert back to one or two words within the content they posted in a comment section.

    This type of marketing is done by large corporations (including eBay) all of the time. It is essentially the telemarketing of the 21st century, the only difference being…

    They don’t trouble you when sitting down to dinner
    The message will live on forever and it reaches many more people over its lifetime
    Where a telephone call only reaches one person for about 5 seconds.

    There is a reason why Bill limited the BAC to 50 individuals and I think he is a smart enough fellow to understand what spam is…

    So to those in the BAC reading these comments:
    Please keep your comments positive

    Please keep your comments topical

    Make sure you never cut and paste comments from blog to blog.

    After all, bloggers love comments, especially ones with no outbound links!

    BAC – Keep on Marketing!

  11. Bobbi85710 October 28, 2008 at 9:46 am #

    The BAC objective each week is minimal and a very friendly task. We enjoy it and I personally exceed the objective every week.

    It’s the good word news. I hope that anyone who really wants to test the waters of opening up their own business or making their own product finds this user friendly site. Minimal investment of time and money but what a huge return.

    Bonanzle is successful and so are Bonanzlers.

  12. funkygarb October 28, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    I’m also a BAC and here’s my take. For literally, months, I was scrambling around trying alternative sites …thinking, “well, be patitent” etc. etc. I don’t fall into the normal category of sellers. In fact, I could NOW be likened to the “cookie cutter” stuff that everybody snivels about on the bay.
    But in ’98 I began selling hard to find “hippie” clothes. I had (and have) a following. When ebay began wine-ing and dining the manufacturers overseas the writing was on my wall. Fees were killing me and here come these new guys who can sell cheaper than I can buy….ugh…..
    Call me nostalgic…but I believe my hand selected “togs” have a shot at Bonanzle. Just like the old ebay days.
    It makes me feel good. That’s what I want to share….it’s easy, everyone is NICE, and it’s the one I’d love to see take off. I feel like “early ebay”. I also have alot of faith and trust in the founders–who are available and personable too! And that’s why I’m a BAC. That’s why I want to get the word out…for all the poor floundering folks who “don’t know where to go”…..

  13. Consignment Pal Resale Directory October 28, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    Bonanzle is extremely fortunate to have an army of evangelists sharing the good news from the heart. People do this all the time with our favorite sports teams or presidential candidate.

    Kudos to Bonanzle and the BAC for working as a team. You’re voice is being heard! Your social marketing strategy is an inspiration to the rest of us!

    Scott, thanks for the news about the BAC and Bonanzle.

  14. Hillary October 28, 2008 at 12:15 pm #

    Hey Bill and Rykar,

    (Sorry for my delay in replying, I don’t subscribe to this blog so I only see the post people email to me or that go out on Twitter so I didn’t realize this got any replies. Too many blogs, you know how it is.)

    First off, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not down on Bonanzle in anyway. I think its really neat. My so called “negative” review was almost entirely positive with a few small complaints. My blog is called The Whine Seller for a reason. 🙂 Complaining about things is sort of my “hook” if you will.

    I cannot go 100% on Bonanzle (which I keep calling Bondazle in real life for some reason) because my business is almost entirely auction based so there is no way for me to switch it over. The few Buy It Now items that I had I put in there and I have been waiting to see how they do. (Most of the other items in my store I cannot move as they are Trading Assistant items that specifically wanted their items on eBay). I even keep doing a search each week for the stuff that I collect to try buying on Bonanzle but, so far anyway, no one is selling any of it. But the site is definitely on my radar and, while I don’t have a use for it yet, I like knowing its out there for when I do. Competition is awesome for those of us that use these sites as it brings prices down all over the place.

    I have no site loyalty to anyone, trust me. 🙂 The second Bonanzle makes me more money than eBay, i am there with the proverbial bells on.

    I even think the BAC is a neat idea. It is very like the Street Teams we used to use at the theatre where I used to work. I don’t have a problem with Bonanzle for creating it or with the idea of it at all. Yes, some people have taken it too far and I have just deleted their comments.

    If I may make the comparison, it’s like Obama, right? A lot of people like him. Some like him to a more extreme level than others. Those people are very “in-your-face” about how they feel about him and, for me, its a turn off, even if I like him myself. That is all I really meant. That while its great to be excited about something, shoving it down someone else’s face is going to have the opposite effect.

  15. Colleen Jones October 29, 2008 at 8:47 am #

    To me, what was so amazing about the formation of BAC is that we, the members of Bonanzle, asked for it. We kept asking for a way to help Bonanzle grow. Bill Harding simply responded to our request ! I think there may have been a master plan within Bill’s team, but I don’t believe he could have foreseen the energy and momentum that was brewing within the Bonanzle community.
    I take my BAC assignments very seriously not only because they ultimately benefit my booth, but they benefit Bonanzle as a whole.

  16. Shopgirl January 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    Just because a site is being pushed with a heavy viral initiative doesn’t make it the best buying/selling platform.

    Sellers really need to consider:
    -what sites best addresses their needs;
    -what sites offer the utmost in customer service and attentiveness to tech problems;
    -what sites are innovative enough to keep up with technology but be user-friendly, fast and easy
    -what sites will help with promotional and marketing advice;
    -what sites continue to grow, yet keep up with growth by creating a “boutique” feel.
    -posting items on more than one site increases exposure and contact with new buyers/sellers that will help promote your business.

    So far I have found Silkfair to meet those considerations, and go above and beyond my expectations. I follow my own advice though, and also list on others.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bonanzle Action Club Controvercy - Evil Empire or Just Grass Roots Social Marketing « Trading Assistant Journal - February 17, 2009

    […] It seems that Debbie Levitt CEO of ASWAS, an eBay Stores designer and consulting company based in Boston, MA and a personal friend, has come out very strongly against the grass roots marketing efforts of Bonanzle.com.  A Prominent blogger and also a friend, Henrietta of the Red Ink Diary has responded quite directly to Debbie’s take on the Bonanzle Action Club. […]

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