Dictating viral marketing

Nuance, makers of Dragon Naturally Speaking, are running a “Do you speak Dragon?” competition.

They did a similar contest last year to collect favourable accounts of using Dragon Naturally Speaking. It must have made the Nuance marketing people feel all warm and soft inside to read the accounts, but you still had to already be at the Nuance web site before you could see what people had said in the hope of winning a prize. I did enter last year: it was one sentence, it was genuine, I didn’t gush, and I got the dragon fingerpuppet that every entrant received and that was all that I was after.

Actually, having just read some of the entries for this year, some of the accounts would make just about anybody feel warm and soft inside. Not the sort of accounts of aspiring novelists who have completed even more novels that will never be published in less time than previously, but the accounts from people with dyslexia, MS, or deafness for whom the dictation software really is making a difference.

Someone in Nuance marketing presumably has read about viral marketing. The difference this year is the extra category, and biggest prizes, for accounts posted on personal blogs, as reviews on sites such as Amazon, on Facebook, etc., or on YouTube. So the nice things that people are saying in the hope of winning a prize are now (or so the Nuance marketing team must be hoping) being spread around the web without any indications that at least some of them were put there because of a competition. Perhaps it’s a shade better than Nuance paying influential bloggers or a viral marketing company to spread the warm and soft feelings about the software (and it’s probably a lot cheaper), but I really would prefer if the positive reviews that I read on the web are put there because the software (or whatever) is genuinely good, not because of the dangling carrot of winning a video game.

This is a blog entry about Dragon Naturally Speaking. If I entered, do you think I could win?

2 thoughts on “Dictating viral marketing

  1. I actually found your article kind of funny and ironical. I received an email from Nuance about their competition. I thought that entering was a bit of a waste of time and of my efforts.
    I earn a living as a blogger (wide encompassing set of skills and consulting services that are best summed up as blogger).
    Instead of looking at their request as a call to shill for Nuance, I looked at it as a call for free content and writing. Work that if I were paid for would cost a lot more than ‘free’ or even a video game or even a free copy of DNS.

    All that said, I do use DNS and recommend it highly even if you suffer from no physical disabilities. I myself am fortunate to have good health and I can type about 90 words a minute but still use DNS 9 about 45 percent of the time.

  2. Your blogging might also be summed up in the terms used in this post as being perhaps a shade worse than what Nuance is doing. As such, it’s hard to tell when your opinions are your own and when they’ll end up as an item on an invoice.

    Surely the end result of viral or buzz marketing is that no-one will believe any “personal” opinions they read on the Web? It perhaps won’t be too long before “Don’t believe personal product reviews” appears alongside “Don’t give out your credit card number” in beginners’ guides to using the Internet.

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