There is a new SmartMoney article about how companies are giving special treatment to customers with high online influence. Is this really new? When haven’t businesses gone out of their way to cater to and hire people with influence? Astute local business people have always engaged with their community to know which customers are most likely to be potent references or critics. The only difference is that social influence is more visible now because it is online and easier to quantify.
The last paragraph about how this might not be fair sounds particularly silly when you translate it into the analog world. Yes, of course the owner/chef is going to go out of his way to create a great experience for a local foodie or restaurant critic. It doesn’t mean the experience for us introverts needs to be bad. It just means that there is a bigger upside on extra effort spent on the taste-makers.