It's Not Spam It's An MBA Project


Funny story for you.

Last week I followed a link I found in Diva Marketing's stat referrals. It led to an powered site ..Expert_amazon_page_may_5_08_3 Expert Choice. Have you ever wondered what books influential bloggers read? We did too. So we asked them.

Lo and behold I was included in this list of experts.

But wait a sec .. I had no recollection of reviewing these books. Even though it seemed to be associated with a not for profit, Kiva, I assumed it was a rather clever spam site. I noticed that Drew McLellan was one of the bloggers listed. Drew was on Twitter so .. yes, girlfriend, I tweeted. He had not a clue either. Amazon_expert_twitter

A few days later I received an email from Jeff Greenfield thanking me for participating in the project that he and his classmates, from the MBA class at Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, had put together .. Expert Choice book store. Ahh .. lightbulb went off.

"We have created this webstore for our group project in EDGE, a course that explores how technology and globalization are transforming the business landscape – opening markets, redefining industries, and erasing boundaries.  Our project’s specific goal is to connect readers with business-related books that are recommended by industry experts. 

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of all books through our Expert's Choice webstore will be donated to the Kiva, a charity that lets you lend to specific entrepreneurs in the developing world – empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.

We sent out 25 emails and got 12 responses: Scott Berkun, Toby Bloomberg, Tom BlueMike Bonifer, Roger Dooley, Guy Kawasaki, Karl Long, Drew McLellan, John Seely Brown, Andy Sernovitz, Ron Shevlin, Scott WhiteWe went into this having no idea how many replies we’d get but we’re happy with the quantity and quality of the responses we received."

To ensure that there was no doubt that this was not only a legit initiative but one developed by a group of MBA students, I suggested a more prominent placement of About Us.  TheTeam Edge from UC Irvine: Jinu Choi, Erin Cueto, Jeff Greenfield and Chris Ting presents their project May 27th. Take a moment to visit the Expert Choice book store and help them out with a few clicks and it would also be swell if you bought a book too .. it's for a good cause. Maybe you can send it to the Masiguy to help him pass the time as he mends.

Lessons Learned
People are cynical. Ensure that your credibility information is front and center.
Need a fast response? Tweet.
Bloggers are kind and generous people. A 50% response rate is great.


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Good story; however, I'm still confused. If you don't recall reviewing the books, why does the site say you did? What am I missing?

Posted by: Lewis Green on May 8, 2008 2:08:46 PM

It does sound like a cool concept once you explain it.

Posted by: Carrie on May 9, 2008 4:02:56 PM

They emailed me and I'm on the list. They just asked what books I liked. Pretty straight forward I thought.

Posted by: BIG Kahuna on May 11, 2008 1:28:01 PM

Not to launch a conspiracy theory, but the idea is suspiciously similar to the Ultimate Marketing Bookstore I launched last year ...

And yes, I just tweeted that!

Posted by: Rohit on Jun 1, 2008 4:19:31 PM

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