Third Parties in the Valley

For years, marketers have known that "sociable, influential early adopters," or connectors, can drive sales. In California this month, "100 of Silicon Valley's top venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, bloggers and promoters will begin receiving cool new stuff for free. ... These movers and shakers promise to sample the products and offer feedback to their manufacturers. The companies hope that, if the mood strikes, the Silicon Valley 100 will chat up, blog on, or just plain recommend the products to friends and colleagues, generating that most invaluable of currencies: buzz." Journalist and blogger Dan Gillmor calls the organized buzz effort "oddly creepy" and asks for disclosure.