Tremor, a word-of-mouth operation that is a division of Procter & Gamble (maker of Crest, Tide and Pampers) has an astonishing 240,000 volunteer teenagers spreading the word about everything from toothbrushes to TV shows. A spinoff, Tremor Moms, is in the works. Other marketers, particularly youth-oriented firms, have put up Web sites recruiting teenagers to serve as ''secret agents.''
Knox said that Tremor's approach to finding the Magic People is intensively researched. The company tries to isolate the psychological characteristics of the subset of influential teenagers, and has developed a screening process to identify them. The details of this are a secret, but as an example, Knox noted that most teenagers have 25 or 30 names on their instant-messaging ''buddy list,'' whereas a Tremor member might have 150. Tremor recruits volunteers mostly through online advertisements and accepts only 10 or 15 percent of those who apply. The important thing, Knox said, is they are the right kind of kids -- the connected, influential trend-spreading kind. Knox mentioned a focus group of Tremor kids in Los Angeles, where several teenagers showed up with business cards. Magic.Ouf. I hope this bill will be adopted!