Nvidia’s Perez: “They act as our ‘voice'”

Mr. Perez writes, in response to our previous questions:

I would hardly say ‘unwilling’ – I responed on Wed and Thursday.

Again – we do not hire ‘actors’ as marketers.

We recruit NV fans to help in answering tech questions, test new drivers, give updates, etc. They act as our ‘voice’ if you will.

We do not pay these people. We sometimes give them hardware…but we give out lots of hardware.

We hired AEG to help manage this process – just like a company will hire a PR firm to help with PR. As we can not talk to everyone.

And what do you mean by ‘fully’ disclosing those gifts?

I give press gifts all the time – and its not disclosed…

Like I said – it easier to talk this through vs. email.

The Consumerist feels that it would be more useful to our readers—the same people you’re both marketing to and occasionally giving free products—to talk this through in public, since the public are the very people who are affected by your relations.

So from what we gather, Nvidia does not hire actors to create trusted personas on internet forums. This is a very good thing, and we are glad to hear you clarify that this is not the case.

Instead, Nvidia takes existing trusted users from the web community and gives them free Nvidia hardware in exchange for PR duties.

This brings us to ‘disclosure.’

By giving away free hardware to fans who are not required to disclose the gift—and why should they, as they are not employees or members of the press?—you’ve created a precarious situation for the communities in which these fans are involved.

Without knowing who gets free hardware from Nvidia as a reward and who is simply a fan of the product based on its own merit, it makes it difficult for us to trust the greater Nvidia fan community at large. The very program you’ve instigated to take advantage of goodwill itself poisons the trust we might otherwise have in your fan community.

So speaking of disclosure, an anonymous Consumerist reader writes:

I spoke on the phone with Stephanie at AEG after this story broke in an effort to investigate the situation.
She flat-out told me that AEG actively seeks influential members of message boards to approach for membership in their marketing program.
These members are required to sign a NDA about the program’s very existence.
The recent news I was told by a member of this program is that NVIDIA is now offering them 30″ widescreen LCDs.
This suggests just how much $$$ is being poured into this new outreach effort.

These people are indeed viral marketers, but NVIDIA also expects them to provide the company feedback on the parts they’re given, so I think the company likes to promote this angle as an excuse for the fact that, at the end of the day, it’s still viral marketing.
Ask Perez why AEG requires an NDA from its members preventing them from even admitting that the program even exists!

Mr. Perez, does AEG make the Nvidia marketing program’s participating members sign an non-disclosure agreement when ‘being your voice?’ Would you tell us what they are not disclosing about the program?

And, we mean, 30-inch widescreen LCD monitors? Those cost a couple grand. Are those Nvidia products now, too?

Related:e Did Nvidia Hire Online Actors to Promote Their Products?
Nvidia’s Derek Perez Responds

Update:: Mr. Perez called! After informing us that he would be having his legal department contact us for posting his emails, he assured us, among other things, that no members of this program were under NDA from Nvidia or AEG nor were they given any 30-inch LCD monitors for participation in the program. Mr. Perez also attempted to explain to us how marketing works.

We tried to explain to Mr. Perez that if the fan program from Nvidia was as innocuous as he claims, he should have no problem sending us the details of the program, what products are given away to fans to “pass on” information about Nvidia, and who from the community was a participant in the program.

Mr. Perez’s response? “Why does that matter?”

We suppose that if no one else is angry about this, it doesn’t, actually.


Did Nvidia Hire Online Actors to Promote Their Products?
Nvidia’s Derek Perez Responds
Nvidia ‘Focus Group’ Member Details Hidden Program
Dear Nvidia’s Mister Perez…


Edit Your Comment

  1. Danilo says:

    What’s that chittery noise I hear? Is that a blogswarm a-brewin’?

    Why, I do think it is!

    And a week from now, Slashdot will finally notice and join in, too.

  2. The Mad Fister says:

    30″ monitors?

    Can I just go on record right now as saying how much my NVidia card rules?

    Derek.. I’ll be in touch.

  3. meaniemean says:

    Way to own the sleazy-ass marketers, Joel. You’re my second biggest hero after Bill Hicks, who famously said:

    “By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing…kill yourself – seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke. You’re going, ‘there’s going to be a joke coming,’ there’s no fucking joke coming. You are Satan’s spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself.”

  4. mrscolex says:

    I’ll have you guys know, that I find all of these remarks disparaging Nvidia to be in rather poor taste. Nvidia cards are quite simply, the best cards on the market. Infact, just the other day I was playing with my GeForce 7800 series and I realized that it was capable of transparency supersampling. You won’t believe how good it looks until you see it for yourself! I have a friend who likes ATI and he’s always coming over to my house just to look at the transparency supersampling. Often times he likes to remark on the high dynamic range lighting effects as well…

    But wait, theres more, using subsurface scattering you can render skin textures off of your favorite 3d games to an unparalleled degree…

    *typing this on his thirty inch monitor*

  5. Josh says:

    Nvidia makes it easy to Pwn those n00bs, wheres my monitor?


    Gawker Media Rocks

    *Disclosure: Sadly I recieve nothing more than a feeling of importance for posting on the Gawker media networks and the hope that I may one day rise a little higher in the blogosphere.

  6. konstantConsumer says:

    excellent work.

  7. AcidReign says:

    …..Maybe I could be a NVIDIA shill. My GEForce 2 still works great! I was leaning towards one of those all-in-one Radeon cards on the new machine I’m putting together, but I’m sure a NVIDIA model would do just as well, especially if it’s free!

    …..And those logins we commentors have work on every Gawker site. I’ve never registered with the Consumerist. I’m in this space because of Gridskipper!

  8. Michael A. B. says:

    I am very picky about what I read and trust on any forums. As Joel can tell you, I am here because I pointed out a flaw in a story (Health Care Plans to Kill You) which the original site did update after I pointed out the problem with it. Unless the person that is recomending something to me is either on the majority opinion or has a verifiable track record of solid opinions, I ignore it.

    I don’t know how many times I have seen a storefront on one of the online shopping groups which had a great rating overall, but also had a couple of different comments saying “ordered item, never got it.” If I were to order something and never get it, especially state to state, I would be reporting it to the FTC as that is a Federal fraud investigation, not a message board comment.

    I actually saw one gentleman who was obviously frustrated as a vendor. Every single negative had a response clearly outlining what had happened, including product ordered, date shipped, tracking number (not sure I would post those myself though since they can track addresses through it) and results of shipment, including signature present/not present.

    It is hard to build a good name and harder to keep it on the net, but good or bad, don’t trust anyone about what they say is good or bad unless you can verify it with test results or specific citations.

    And I include myself in that too. Read my comments if you like, but think for youself. The Consumerist is a good site, but I would prefer and “Educated Consumerist” site where people go to find out how to learn about the products they buy and use.

    For example, NPR recently did a story on how bio-fuels like ethanol and biodesil are thought to be “environment friendly” but one scientist has calculations that say it actually uses more fossil fuel energy to make than the net gain from using it. Consumers of the bio-fuels like to think that they are 100% enviornmentally consious since the fuel is made from corn or soybeans. But don’t think, “I wonder what fuel the farmers and the plants use to make it?” or “How many starving people could eat off of what I just pumped into my Land Boat of an SUV which is statistically more likely to kill my child in a wreck due to rollovers than my old sedan?”

    I am not claiming that any of the statements above are true, but they are statements that most consumers don’t think about at all, even if they are purchasing the products.