Buzzphoria Social Media Reality Check

UPDATE 4/7/2009: Wow! I’m completely stunned. I feel played like an old violin by a master…and I mean that in the best possible way. Turns out this whole thing was an elaborate…hoax? Publicity stunt? Not sure quite what to call it. Anyway, turns out the folks at Buzzphoria have actually been planning this thing for more than a year. See The Buzzphoria End Game — We Are Our Own Best Case Study. I’ve left my original post below in its entirety. If you haven’t already, you really should read it first before jumping over to the link above. I’m looking forward to watching them unfold the whole story.

How NOT to Launch a Social Media Marketing Agency

In today’s HARO (Help a Reporter Out), the sponsor was Buzzphoria, a “social media marketing agency”. Here’s their ad, offering a “free social media reality check”:


I thought nothing of it at the time. Big deal – yet another social media marketing agency. But then my friend Jim Turner posted this on Twitter:


Of course, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask him who it was. He told me it was Buzzphoria. I didn’t immediately place the name, but then he reminded me that they were this morning’s HARO sponsor.

OK, look…I know about “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” and all that. And I’ve certainly been there myself – my social media profiles aren’t all always current and my blogs don’t all have the latest plugins and other cool stuff.

But when you put yourself out there in front of 50,000 media-savvy people (HARO subscribers), you gotta at least have the basics in order. Buzzphoria doesn’t.

Buzzphoria, this is your social media reality check!

Let’s start with their home page:


“Buzzphoria is a global Internet marketing Agency with dedicated staff covering 23 countries…” That’s a pretty bold claim. Let’s find out more about them, shall we? Who are they? What are their qualifications? Let’s check “About Us”:



Social media reality check: Social media is about people. Your case studies sound very impressive, but if I don’t know who you are, if I can’t check out your background, and if you don’t name your clients by name, for all I know, it’s bullshit. I’m not saying Buzzphoria is – I’m just saying I don’t have any way to find out.

OK, so they’re a social media agency. Let’s see what their blog has to say. Hmm… wait a minute, where is it? There’s no content from the blog (or any other social media) featured on the home page. There’s not even a link to their blog, podcast, Twitter or anything else. And no RSS feeds either.


Social media reality check: Your front page doesn’t have to be your blog, or even crammed full of social media content, but a fundamental social media strategy is for you to make it as easy as possible for people to connect with you via social media. At a minimum, your home page should have at least one or two links where people can connect with you, a little bit of featured social media content and an RSS feed where people can subscribe.

So let’s go find their blog. Turns out it’s buried under “Resources” and then linked from there. Let’s see what’s on their blog:



I’m speechless. Jim had said it, but I found it hard to believe. They took the time to integrate it into the look-and-feel of the site, but they couldn’t manage one post?

Social media reality check: Your web site doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be kept completely up-to-date all the time. But when you’re getting ready to launch a big publicity campaign, you’d better get it up-to-date. People are going to come check you out. What do you want them to find? Nothing? Worse than nothing…something that makes you look at least a little bit foolish?

So back to the resources page. Hmm… this looks interesting… a list of social networking web sites:



Umm… none of these are hyperlinked. None. What am I supposed to do, copy/paste them into my browser?

Social media reality check: A resource is only a resource if it’s actually useful. Hyperlinking rules. If you can take the time to make a list of resources, you can take the little bit of extra time to make them clickable. Otherwise it’s just meaningless words.

OK, so I did a little more digging around and found out that Buzzphoria is actually a rebranding of Shazaaam Marketing & PR Specialists. And guess what? They have a blog!



It was started in October of last year (1 post) and hasn’t been updated since December.

Social media reality check: A dead blog is worse than no blog. Seriously. Update it or get rid of it. Also, if you want “street cred” in the social media space, you need some history going back farther than six months.

So enough about the blog. Let’s see what Buzzphoria is doing on Twitter…




I was torn here. I was really tempted to grab it, but finally decided against it. If they’re really social media savvy, they’ll register it themselves before someone else does. I mean, can you imagine if someone grabbed @Buzzphoria and did something like link to this post? If it happens, it’s not me, but I’ll laugh.

Social media reality check: Grab the IDs for your brands in all the most popular social networking sites. Even if you have no intention of actively using a particular site, control your brand presence there. makes it easy.

I still have hope. Maybe they’ve at least been generating some buzz for themselves on Twitter?



One mention…one!

Social media reality check: Participate before you publicize. A HARO ad shouldn’t be the first presence for your brand. Get engaged in the conversation and start building some buzz before you do your big official launch. Your friends and followers will then help support the launch by sharing it with their friends and followers. Why? Not because you have impressive anonymous case studies, but because they like and care about you and want to see you succeed.

So to all the folks at Buzzphoria – I’m sorry if this hits you hard. I’m not trying to be mean, and you all may be great at what you do for your clients. But right now, you’re certainly not looking the part. This is your social media reality check.


  1. Connie Reece

    Wow! One can only imagine what their free reality chcmeck would have Bren like for the unfortunate HARO readers who probably jumped on the offer. Nice work in digging out this info on another social media snake oil peddlar. (please forgive typos – posting on iPhone and this comment form will not let me scroll back to fix them)

  2. Sandi Chrush

    Just starting to get my business onto the web. I appreciate the review. Honest and direct. Gave me a few things to think about for my site. I’m nowhere near the largness of these guys, but learning everyday!

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. Jim" Genuine" Turner

    I’m the last guy to cast any stones with being a professional blogger and consultant my own sites are clearly not up to par as it relates to my own preaching, which is a clear example of not have shoes for my kids. I think they just pulled the trigger a little fast on this one. Take the time to at least finish out the site and get the ducks in order before offering social media services to companies.

    I would go as far as to say link to your other blog and site to let people know you are not new to the pool. We only have perceptions at this point so we don;t know the whole story. Perhaops they could fill us in. A great opportunity to turn this into a positive.

  4. Tim Moore

    Great post Scott. Let’s prevent this from further giving legitimate consultants a bad name. Add what you can to Axel’s great idea, “the qualifications” to consider BEFORE selecting a social media consultant

    Again, bookmark worthy stuff Scott. Keep it up!

    Tim Moore

  5. Lyle Hubbard

    I’m surprised they haven’t responded. Turning the cheek is one thing but to Ricci Neer’s point, I would also think that there has to be more to the story and that we’d hear it here.

    This reminds of the Kramer interview on The Daily Show!

    The best thing to come out of it are all the great insights from Scott and the new wiki on how to vet an agency. Great stuff!

  6. Pamela Slim

    This is a really brilliant review Scott.

    And I am just cringing on behalf of Buzzphoria. It will be a very tough lesson, but a good one. And we can all learn from their experience, and hopefully be humble and supportive in helping them recover. I agree that they have a great opportunity to respond and turn this story around. If they don’t, they will likely get another massive FAIL from you. 🙂


  7. Mitch

    Nice catch, Scott, and very funny stuff at the same time. Reminds me of a friend of mine who started a restaurant review site, but only had two reviews on it at the start. Right now he’s up to 7, which is still a major shame because all these categories are there, and many of them have nothing. Some folks, right?

  8. Pingback: Buzzphoria » Blog Archive » The Buzzphoria End Game — We Are Our Own Best Case Study

  9. Pingback: Social Media Blog Carnival V | Austin Social Media

  10. Brandon Chesnutt

    Hey Scott,

    I recently presented at an event here in metro Detroit along with a member of Buzzphoria. During their presentation, this post and the ensuing activity was discussed. I had never heard of an agency leaving critical information blank as part of a case study, so I decided to check it out.

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever thought of doing a follow-up post? I’m curious if the whole “hello world” idea worked and if they have contacted you since?

    Anyway, I’ll poke around your site a bit more!

    Take care,


    1. dpr

      You bring up a good point Brandon, I too have been waiting for a follow-up from Scott on Buzzphoria as it has been months and there has been no action on Buzzphoria’s part…blog has been left fairly dormant since the foreshadowing of the end-game case study reveal on May 11 and the web site still isn’t finished. I guess his original thoughts were correct, they are frauds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *