Please excuse me while I get on my soapbox for a minute. I was reading a post on techcrunch.com about “Secret Strategies Behind Many Viral Videos” and simply have to comment. http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/22/the-secret-strategies-behind-many-viral-videos/
The post hypes a company that “assists” in helping companies with viral campaigns, giving strategies that some young Stanford grad student/ entrepreneur uses to help companies boost viewings on YouTube and other sites.Â Some of the strategies are useful and interesting:
- Keep the clip 15-30 seconds
- Design the clip so that it can be easily remixed
- Don’t make it a “hard sell”
- Make sure the thumbnail is clear (suggesting high video quality)
- Ideally the thumbnail should have a person in it
- Have a catchy title
- Releasing all videos simultaneously
- Use tracking mechanisms
However, what made this blog so controversial are the other strategies listed, which are described as a “morally repugnant, disgusting,” and other choice phrases, according to the myriad comments posted. These strategies include spamming, creating fake comments, generating misleading titles, using sex to sell, paying bloggers to post, and other such noble “strategies.” Naturally, there are many comments, including, amazingly, a post back from the author which says, “What we do is grease the viral wheels. If that means commenting back and forth between fake users, who cares? It’s all about entertainment – we’re just making the whole experience entertaining.” Clearly, this young deluded Stanford grad student doesn’t have a moral compass. In the same way that sensationalism isn’t the same as journalism and a reputable auto dealer isn’t the same as a pinky-ring-wearing, plaid-coated used car salesman, these “strategies” will definitely work until such time when law-makers catch up with those who engage in these sorts of chicanery!
Now, I am not so naive as to think that products and services do not benefit from getting the boost that good marketing provides, but there need to be standards. If you are a marketer dealing with questionable tactics, look in the mirror, dig deep down, find some integrity, and fire the people who are using trickery to build your business. There are so many honest ways to work; don’t sell your soul in pursuit of a buck!