BzzAgent and Creative Commons
Short version of a long story:
BzzAgent does pro-bono work. CC and BzzAgent decide to work together. Some people think it is a good idea. Some CC members, like Sew Charman, do not and blog about it. Dave Balter does not like the way people characterize BzzAgent and posts a nasty message in response. Among other things, the CC members, including Sew Charman, do not like being called liars. Lawrence Lessig asks people for their opinion and considers dropping the campaign. Lots of people weigh in. Balter posts an apology. Apology accepted, but the debate goes on ...
How do I feel about this? I think that:
1. The idea of a pro-bono partnership is a great idea.
2. Balter was out of line but has since made good.
3. The CC people have totally overracted.
4. There is a lot of elitism out there doing good for no one.
5. Work it out. Don't throw it out.
6. If the situation cannot be resolved, BzzAgent should drop it, not CC.
Now, here is the long version:
Posts that got things started:
BzzAgent: BeeLog posts:
Bloggers as Liars
An Open Letter to Lawrence Lessig
Apologies to Suw & Corante
Sew Charman:Corante/Strange Attractor:
Oh dear. Creative Commons shack up with BzzAgents
Apparently I am a liar
Dave Balter apologises
Bzzzz: seeking advice
This is my post on Lessig's blog:
A very interesting debate ...
Among other things, I'm a blogger and photographer. I also like mountian climbing and making web sites with photos from the trip.
I like Creative Commons and Common Content, and I've used its copyright for my creative work.
I'd like more people to know about CC.
MW wrote: However there does seem to a feeling amongst many people that the Creative Commons needs to be better promoted offline than it is currently.
I would argue that Creative Commons needs to be better promoted. Period. Ask around ... How many of your non-alpha-geek friends, family, and colleagues have heard of CC?
Go on. Ask.
And then ask people in other places other than major metro areas in the USA. Then try asking people in Europe. Sure, CC is expanding, but as great as it is, CC is still relatively unknown by the masses.
Why not do something about it?
SpreadFirefox is a great campaign. Let's do something like it.
Tell-a-friend campaigns are effective, too, and CC should have better ways for members to inform others about their content.
Getting CC into places like the Firefox search bar or the new Yahoo! Search for Creative Commons are great initiatives.
We should do more.
In addition to being a fan of CC, I'm also a fan of BzzAgent. They're one of the most transparent marketing and communication companies I've ever seen. They have an open, effective business model with reputable clients. They advocate an ethical approach to their business and seem to want to do some good.
Did Dave Balter screw up and make a mess of things, especially with Suw? Yes. Open mouth. Insert foot.
That said, it is my experience that Dave is a very passionate person and cares very deeply about the company he is creating ... much like the way folks are passionate and care about CC. He was very quick to re-think his words and offer an appology. Not something you see from everyday companies.
Contrary to the opinion expressed in many posts, BzzAgent does not "use people to lie to their friends in order to advertise and profit" ... They help companies organize and manage word-of-mouth marketing.
It is so easy to make fun of and come down hard on BzzAgent ... They've worked with a sausage company and a shoemaker. Gets a laugh every time. But who cares? They want to help CC, and they want to do it for free.
There is much CC has to gain from this partnership.
Work it out. Don't throw it out.
"Of course, thatís just my opinion. I could be wrong."
Here's where I've found some lively discussion of the matter:
Kevin Marks: Many-to-Many: BzzAgent and Creative Commons - a cultural chasm (My response to Kevin is here.)
Many-to-Many: Creative Commons crossing the line?
Eric Rice :: Creative Commons + BzzAgent = Brilliant!
Johnnie Moore's Weblog: Bzz controversy
Wired News: Free Buzz Blitz Earns Rebuke
pc4media: BzzAgent Doesn't Handle Negative Buzz Very Well
Just a Gwai Lo Ľ Blog Archive Ľ An Idea So Good That Itís Worth Spending Time Explaining Without Expecting Something in Return
Thursday, May 05, 2005