Surfing the Web now a paying gig

15:50, March 17, 2010      

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Companies are now hiring people to conjure up a buzz about their products and services online. The 21st century has given rise to the new occupation of Internet promoter. Internet promoters usually have clear commercial purposes such as raising the prestige of companies or individuals.

"As long as you are a frequent Internet user, and are able to be online for more than six hours per day, you can join our team. We solemnly promise that once hired, you will get paid at least 1,000 yuan per month." So read a March 2009 thread titled "100 Internet promoters wanted" on Baidu Post Bar. Over 80 people applied for the job, many of whom claimed to be "professional Internet promoters."

The job is very attractive to some young people like Song Xing, who was temporarily out of work and spent much of his time surfing the Internet at home.

Song told reporters that his job is to advertise company products online, and he usually makes an overview of the products first, and then adds some positive comments at 0.5 yuan per thread. If the thread turns out to be really "hot," he will get a bonus of 50 to 100 yuan. In addition, when the page-view reaches a certain amount, he will get a percentage on the products they sell. "If I work harder, I can earn nearly 2,000 yuan per month," he said.

Huang Jibo, general manager of the Beijing Phoenix Caizhi Company, said that the number of Internet marketing companies has grown largely and rapidly in recent years. For example, there are over 100 Internet marketing companies in Beijing, though most are small companies with only 2 or 3 partners. Manufacturers should have a long-term plan for Internet marketing, and they should build long-term cooperative relationship with some strong marketing teams or companies. In addition, the public should discriminate between true and false information, and should not "follow the wind" blindly.

Online marketing has double effect

Tang Yuanxiong, a teacher from the Department of Sociology of Lanzhou University, said that if the online promoter model is guided and applied properly, it will become an excellent marketing tool. Internet has already become a major platform for many people, particularly the youth, to access information. Enterprises naturally hope to use the platform to enhance their influence and market products.

Huang said that not only has the development of online marketing solved the employment issue of some young people, but it has also enhanced the image of enterprises.

Tian Jinshuang, chief of a private entertainment training school and artist agent, believes that online marketing has a double effect and may promote brands and images of enterprises if used properly. Some immoral practices can only bring enterprises short-term benefits, and harm both their sustainable development and the public.

Online survey on online promoters

The China Youth Daily Social Survey Center has conducted a survey through minyi.net.cn and qq.com. The survey results show that over 52 percent of the 1,163 respondents agreed that the online promoter mode should be regulated as well as encouraged to offer the youth an extra employment channel. However, around 23 percent said that the online promotion does more harm than good, so it should be limited or banned.

Influenced by Internet promoters, many netizens were misled into the above events, which fueled the development of these events. The survey shows that 62 percent of the respondents believe that those around them believe online information. In regards to the reasons behind the credibility, nearly 70 percent believed that it is hard to judge the authenticity of the information left by Internet promoters, almost 60 percent believe that the people have habitually extended their trust in traditional media to online information and around 32 percent believe that the people are unfamiliar of the characteristics of Internet-based information dissemination.

Some people say that everyone can publish information online in the Internet era, which means that anyone can possibly become an online promoter behind the scenes. Around 50 percent of the respondents agreed with the opinion.

By People's Daily Online
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