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stayfree - Stay F---! | December 13

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Subject: Free, promotional email list for Stay Free! print magazine

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  • From: Carrie McLaren < AT>
  • To: stayfree AT
  • Subject: Stay F---! | December 13
  • Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 15:32:59 -0500


"The Hidden (in Plain Sight) Persuaders"
From the New York Times Magazine, 12/5/04

Excellent cover story by Rob Walker about agencies that enlist everyday joes to buzz products. By now most Stay F---! readers know about viral marketing, but what makes this piece so good is Walker's attention to the social relationships involved. The agencies Walker profiles have been able to get people to work essentially for free, with only product samples and the promise of bolstered egos as payment.

The one thing missing from this piece is an acknowledgment that the companies' claims are no doubt exaggerated. Marketers routinely inflate their numbers, and these guys are already on record as encouraging their charges to lie (asking agents to call book stores pretending to be customers searching for a desired book, etc.). Besides, anyone who has worked with volunteers before (especially volunteers operating independently from a distance) knows that 95 percent of them aren't doing much of anything; thus, you can forget BzzAgent's claims of 60,000 and Tremor's 240,000 -- my guess is that they each have a few hundred active agents. Still, the success of their business model is no less terrifying; and this quibble shouldn't detract from an otherwise solid article. (Thanks to Salim Virji)


This week's announcement that Wal-Mart plans on opening a store in Queens brought mixed response from local residents, including aches, pains, and vomiting. Yeah, yeah we realize that Queens already has its share of retail giants, but when it comes to driving down local wages and gutting local businesses, no one beats Wal-Mart. We'll keep you posted as the opposition gains steam.


A few weeks ago I mentioned my fantasy for an independent resource that compared prescription drugs, a la Consumer Reports. Turns out that the Consumers Union (which publishes Consumer Reports) has launched a website for this very purpose. At the moment, it only has reports on three categories of drugs--cholesterol/statins, arthritus & pain/NSAIDs, and heartburn/PPIs--but a new report will be appearing every month.

Also: Help Consumer Reports make drug trial info public:


Stay Free! is looking for a smart, reliable human to help out a few hours a week with some of the day-to-day duties of running an independent, nonprofit magazine. Hours are flexible and will run anywhere from 2 to 10 hours per week.
Primary duties will be taking care of mail orders. The ideal candidate will be tech-savvy, familiar with FilemakerPro and Mac OS, and live in or around Park Slope, Brooklyn. Exceptional high school students are encouraged to apply. We can pay $10/hour to start. Send a cover letter and resume to cm AT

  • Stay F---! | December 13, Carrie McLaren, 12/13/2004

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