BzzAgent Goes Social With BzzScapes

BOSTON BzzAgent, a word-of-mouth media network with 550,000 consumer volunteers, is finding a new way to get the word out.

The company here has launched BzzScapes, a network of brand-centric communities created by advocates that organize and rank marketers’ online content. Beta clients for the initiative, which hosts the collection and discussion of brands’ digital content, include Clorox, Colgate, Ford, Penguin Publishing and Procter & Gamble.

BzzAgent said it developed BzzScapes to help marketers centralize all online content — images, blogs, coupons, videos and articles — created about their products.

Unlike conventional social networking revenue models, using CPM and sponsorships, BzzScapes monetizes its community with “tools that allow marketers to increase the size of their BzzScape, trigger participation, monitor activity and offer promotions to key members.” Marketers may subscribe to an unlimited number of BzzScapes, which are free to build.

Beta client Scott Monty, Ford Motors’ digital and multimedia communications manager, said in a statement: “While we’ll continue to tell people about our fuel-efficient quality vehicles, we want customers to be able to hear it directly from each other, increasing the trust and believability factor.”

BzzAgent CEO Dave Balter insisted that BzzScapes is not another product-review vehicle: “Successful social networking sites have proven that brands and people can co-exist harmoniously on social networks. BzzScapes extends this relationship by empowering brand-conscious consumers to build communities around the products they love and inviting marketers to interact in a meaningful way with these advocates.”

In January, Balter said that BzzAgent created an international alliance with European WOM networks Buzzador AB and TRND AG.

The three word-of-mouth industry players, who together consist of 750,000 participants with a reach of 9 million consumers, share nearly 20 clients, including Philips and Unilever.