Actually, I think this is a terrible idea, marketing wise. People are going to wonder if positive feedback about Elemental is being driven by an honest appreciation for both the game and the company making it, or merely for the mercenary goal of acquiring points to get free stuff. And that's never a good thing when your entire business model is based around appearing honest and seeming interested in the opinions of customers.
There's the additional risk that forum communities -- other than this one -- will assume that Stardock, having already decided to go the guerrilla advertising route, will choose to supplement its amateur VMs with professional ones. And that carries with it the possibility of new, low post count members of forums being stigmatized or banned for being VMs if they speak appreciatively of the game, even if they're legitimate users. Small forums -- in other words, the home-away-from-home for the majority of internet denizens, despite the higher profile of the larger forums -- have regular VM witch hunts, and even relatively large forums see the occasional VM freakout if they happen to have a lot of members in a demographic perceived as valuable by major advertisers. It's not as common as it was back in ~2005-2006 when the guerrilla and viral advertising stuff was still fresh, but it's definitely a phenomenon to take account of if you don't want to have your message ignored or outright rejected. After all, every internet denizen is aware of how prevalent spambots are, and that advertising is the chief revenue source out here. Making it obvious that you're attempting to pander is a great way to have people reject that selfsame pandering.
Even Facebook users -- the stereotypically least plugged in of the internet populace -- will eventually figure out that something is amiss if a few of their gaming friends are constantly posting positively about Elemental, and then see this contest that rewards positive posts.
All in all, as a plugged in member of Generation Y, I'm of the opinion that this has a serious risk of backfiring on Stardock and eroding a lot of the goodwill they've built up over the past decade. Putting all that effort on the line over a cheesy marketing gimmick for a game that already HAS a fairly large base of amateur enthusiasts -- the beta participants -- is downright irrational. I'm more than a little surprised that Mr. Wardell chose to go ahead with it, in all honesty, as as a policy it has none of his usual marketing nous. Maybe that sounds a little doom&gloom, and totally inappropriate for this particular forum, but I'm of the opinion that in marketing, as in racing, the most likely moment for things to go horribly wrong is when you've just pulled ahead of the pack with a creative stunt.
Oh, and for those wondering, I joined because I thought it had something to do with the Pen and Paper campaign I saw a few dev journals back. When I found out the truth, I was more than a little cross. Speaking of which, a tie in with the PnP campaign would be far more successful at developing amateur advertisers than this blatant pay-for-posts system.