Fast Company Pulls a Fast One

Fast Company has been a darling of the geek set since it first launched. The magazine is full of the coolest gadgets, the hippest companies and really good information and the website is a vibrant community.

Welcome to The Influence Project | Fast Company

So what went wrong with the “Influence Project”? The site which recently launched entices a user to enter their name and view their social media influence. Then it encourages a user to try to get their network to respond to a comment or post about the site to show how much influence that user has. The more people who click your link the more influence you have.

What do you get?
“Your picture could appear in the November issue of Fast Company magazine as part of an amazing photo spread. The more influence you demonstrate, the bigger your picture will be.” (oooh cool)

How is your influence measured?
“The number of people who directly click on your unique URL link. This is the primary measure of your influence, pure and simple. You will receive partial “credit” for subsequent clicks generated by those who register as a result of your URL.”

People are already gaming it by adding shortened links to the page with their user ID embedded so they get more influence rankings. It’s getting pretty bad buzz on Twitter right now under the hashtag #InfluenceProject from a broad spectrum of people.

What’s the big deal?
To many it sounds way to close to the old “Who’s Who” scandal where you get a message you’re been nominated to e listed in who’s who but first you have to pay to have your name featured. It’s a vanity call. It’s a pyramid scheme where nobody really makes money( except for Fast Company maybe by selling ads and magazines).

While the influence project doesn’t cost any money, it could cost in something more. Like Fast Company’s reputation. When they say there’s no such thing as bad PR Some of the most influential people in social media have 3-4 connections so far at best and many are not listed at all.

Even more interesting are the names who are not signing up. I did a quick search and many of the social media folks I most respect are not represented or have very few connections. Amber Naslund, Cathy Brooks, Chris Brogan, Liz Strauss, Aaron Strout haven’t been listed yet and I’m thinking it might turn out against Fast Comp nay in a way they haven’t expected.

Whoever has less influence on the Influence Project wins!