We recently launched our word of mouth advertising startup, www.boostria.com. We want to rapidly grow our user base to mature our system. But it takes lots of time/effort to sign new users. So, my question is:
Is it a good idea to pay users to sign up to my service? What are the pros/cons?
11/13, I add my responses to Clint' answer here because it is too long for the comment
Thank you for the input. I would like to response with 3 points
Maybe the "word of mouth advertising" slogan is misleading, but, we help to boost businesses with short stories; we encourage people to write an interesting story, rather than a personal review. Take one of our advertise laterdog.com as an example, one booster signed up as "a dog", and speak her boosting message like this "So, my owners were going on a vacation. They had no idea what to do with me, so they went to www.laterdog.com. It changes you, man. I'm a whole new Labrador.". This is really nothing different from a actor doing a commercial on TV, right?
I agree with you on "don't sell out to your F&F", so we don't publish stories into users' Facebook, Twitter, other social network account. Instead, you publish stories into opt-in publishing sites like Google AdSense did. So the scenario of "selling to your family and friends" does not exist.
Lastly, I believe that Word of Mouth (WOM) is about transparency. So we mark every sponsored boosting clearly with "sponsored by..." label. It is up to the users to decide whether the story is interesting enough so they want to click the site to learn more.
Does this make better sense?
11/13, James added our demo site http://boostria.blogspot.com