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Can you trust word-of-mouth anymore?

Posted by Ilise Benun on

In Monday’s NY Times, there was an article about taxi drivers in London becoming pitchmen for an online gambling web site. They are paid to chat up their passengers and, if the passenger expresses interest in the gambling site, they can even pass along a coupon. This is being called "word of mouth" marketing. But I find it a little creepy.

So this morning, at a hotel in Toronto, I was having breakfast and chatting with the woman sitting next to me about getting back to the airport tomorrow. She reached into her purse and gave me the business card of a taxi service she recommends. "They’re great and not expensive," she said.

This woman seems perfectly trustworthy and sincere, but, for a moment, I wondered if she is one of these "pitchmen."

What do you think of this? Will there be a time when we can’t even trust the people around us?

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