A new application on Facebook, called Market Lodge will pay users a 10% commission on sales made on their recommendations. And vendors can submit products for approval, so long as they’re willing to cough up a 35% commission on each product sale.

Market Lodge is the brainchild of a startup called bSocial Networks. They’re betting that Facebook users will like the idea of helping merchants sell to their friends. I’m betting it’ll open the doors to a flood of fledgling Marketplace Molesters.

Here’s how you can make sure you don’t become one of them.

If you’re going to test Market Lodge, keep two things in mind

Facebook hasn’t been a friendly place for profit since opening it’s door to developers. I’ve never seen more useless widgets for fun and games in one place than what you’ll find after 12-months of “open door development” on Facebook.

And while Market Lodge is a step in the right direction, the way I see it, it’s got two challenges:

    1. Facebook tried to capitalize on membership connections last year by introducing a marketing system that allowed friends to broadcast product endorsements to each other.

    That’s been a dud. Mostly because Facebook’s users revolted when they realized there was a feature called “Beacon.” That little devil tracked and shared information about their purchases and other actions made on other Web sites. Users’ are now allowed to turn off Beacon, but it’s still a dud.

    2. Online social networks as a whole have had trouble generating big profits from advertising. Even powerhouse Google Inc. has admitted that they haven’t found the right marketing mix partnering with News Corp.’s MySpace.com.

In both cases the problem is rooted in an old-school marketing mindset and interruption-style of communication. Understand this, apply the C.H.A.R.M. Formula of Tribal Seduction, and you’ll be ahead of the pack out of the gate.

Market Lodge is a good idea, but…

It actually makes it easier for regular Joe’s and Jane’s to make money making recommendations. But that’s where the danger lies.

“Average” people don’t know how to market or sell without Molesting friends and family. (Doubt me? Just think of a friend who’s all fired up about the new MLM they joined.)

Hell, most people who call themselves marketers or sales professionals don’t know how to do that. Even fewer know how to seduce.

Affiliates — keep it low key

So if you plan on becoming an affiliate with Market Lodge, keep it low key. Treat your recommendations relevant to topical conversations you engage in.

Unless you have a really strong personal brand that attracts a “clean” list of friends — stay away from network-wide promotional messages. And even if you’ve got that highly focused network of friends, take the time to create some good (connection-based) content as a mass message, and strategically inject a relevant recommendation.

Vendors — give it a shot

If you’re a vendor, you can request that bSocial add your product to their line up. The vendor registration process is ridiculously simple (which to me implies that you may not hear back from them if they don’t like your product.) You can learn more about becoming a Market Lodge vendor here.

If you’ve used Market Lodge, share what your experiences have been. And if you give it a try (either as an affiliate or vendor) come back and share your experience.

John Paul Micek is a co-founder of the international business coaching company RPM Success Group ® Inc. He and his partner Deborah Micek are authors of the hit book Secrets Of Online Persuasion, and creators of theBLOG i360™ New Media Marketing hub, the ONLY Web Site that does 40-hours or more of work FOR you each and every month.
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