Coyote Sees the Future

James Dean, reader of both my blog and my book BMOC, sent me a great article about several companies that are pursuing business models surprisingly close to the one I made up for BMOC in my book.

Quick background:  In my novel, I imagined that the company BMOC had recruited the most popular kids at a number of high schools -- kids who were true social opinion makers, so to speak.  I posited that BMOC monetized these relationships by 1) Helping clients of BMOC in the same school become more popular and 2) Seeding these kids with free products (video games, cosmetics, etc.) which would cause other kids who followed their example to go out and buy the same products.  The free products both paid the popular kids for their consulting work helping to make BMOC clients more popular, and acted as a guerrilla marketing tactic for the companies that sell these products.  (The section of the novel explaining the business model in detail is here).

Well, I have not seen anyone pursuing part 1, but apparently a number of companies are pursuing part 2:

Shoppers will be given the opportunity to test products or
services, share them with their friends and, all being well,
recommend them to a wider audience - without a cent being spent on
traditional advertising.

One company, Yooster, predicts it will have 50,000 "influencers"
- the marketing moniker for trendsetters and mavens - on its books
by June, ready to spruik a client's wares solely for the social
kudos of getting the product before it hits the shelves.

The chief executive and founder of Yooster, Piers Hogarth-Scott,
said: "If you are a 20-year-old girl at university and you get the
latest lipstick from Gucci months before it is out on the shelves
and you are able to give it to your friends then you are going to
look good. That gives you immense [social] currency."

You can buy BMOC at Amazon.