Over the past few days I’ve received emails from a few friends asking me to sign up for a service called “Fill My Closet,” which appears to be yet another viral marketing campaign.
Their proposition is simple: sign up for a free trial from a host of companies, get 5 of your friends to do the same, and get a free $250 gift certificate to Nordstroms. Paypal was the first company to utilize this sort of strategy when they paid cold cash for every new signup a user could generate. I fell pray to this offer (who could resist free money?), as did millions of other people. Paypal subsequently turned out to be a great service, and I would have signed up anyway.
FillMyCloset on the other hand is essentially a viral marketing frontend for all of the old school junk snail mailâ€”magazine subscriptions, free product trials, cd clubsâ€”seemingly great offers with huge drawbacks. These junk services are brokered by a company called MetaReward.com which allows people to easily sign up for services (one-click shopping for thigns you don’t want) Unlike the postal service, which is a random attempt to find gullible people, FillMyCloset uses social networks to find cliques of gullible people.
If each person that completes the required networking service, and gets 5 people to sign up for a service, the cost to the service provider would be $50. I’m sure that none of the participating companies would pay that much money per new customer, so the service must depend on people not being able to quite achieve their goal. If they set the number of friends too low, everyone will succeed, and if they set the number too high, no one will think it’s possible. Five seems to be the magic number, although I’m not sure why it’s so hard.
The site is a service of Free Super, an incentives-based viral marketing company. Their website provides very little information about the company, except that they can “generate thousands of new customers every month, at a fraction of the legacy cost of acquisition.” At least they’re upfront about their sliminess.