Is Jonathan's Card A Starbucks-Brewed Viral Marketing Gambit?

As we reported yesterday, a guy named Jonathan generated positive buzz for Starbucks by opening up his gift card to the public, allowing users to use and contribute to it at will. According to a coffee industry blogger, the card may be a viral marketing campaign geared to net the company priceless amounts of good publicity.

A Coffee Business Strategies post says Jonathan, who claims not to be affiliated with Starbucks, is employed by Mobiquity, which the author says works with Starbucks in “conceive[ing], execute[ing] and deliver[ing] impactful Mobile Computing solutions…” that, “capture real-time behavioral insights through analytics, profiling and modeling.”

Mobiquity brags on its site about how CNN reported on Jonathan’s Card, identifying Jonathan as Vice President of Application Architecture.

Jonathan Stark strongly denied the accusations. “The Jonathan’s Card experiment was completely my idea, Starbucks had absolutely nothing to do with it, and until recently, I was scared to death that Starbucks might sue the crap out of me,” he wrote on the card’s Facebook wall. “I am deeply hurt by accusations that I’ve been acting out of self-interest or on behalf of Starbucks…it threatens to destroy the good feelings that have been built up by thousands of people who have participated in this wonderful experiment.”

Does it matter to you whether or not Jonathan’s Card originated from just some guy or marketing wizardry?

Starbucks and the ‘Starkbucks’ Jonathan’s Card Viral Marketing Campaign [Coffee Business Strategies]
The Real Deal [Facebook.com/jonathanscard]

Previously: Want A Starbucks? Use Jonathan’s Card