Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What makes a successful viral

[Tags: , ]. The Online Journalism Review provides a great analysis of the results of the Contagious Media Showdown, which saw the likes of Forget-Me-Not Panties, Crying While Eating, Blogebrity and Ringtone Dancer pick up awards for gaining the most exposure on a series of criteria.

The OJR argues that what set the sites apart was
  • humour
  • unreality ("is it fake?")
  • and "a dash of the provocative or controversial."
Jonah Peretti, founder of ContagiousMedia.org, the site behind the showdown, argues that a good viral is "provoking you to think, 'Is this real or is this right? Is this an outrage? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?' The best projects are a combination of being immediately accessible but are thought-provoking on a deeper level."

And Crying While Eating creators, Casimir Nozkowski and Daniel Engber, said they had "two principles: make people laugh and/or make people vaguely uncomfortable"

Other points to note include the lack of control over who your audience ends up being - the spoof "Black People Love Us" became popular on forums for white supremacists, "where people were upset about the white couple making friends with blacks", and how even unwieldy domain names can still be successful due to the "power of hyperlinks on sites, and links spread by e-mail and instant messaging"

Blog linking is seen as "helpful" but "overblown": for Panty Raiders "newspaper and radio reports from the UK, Eastern Europe and Japan brought the biggest influx of traffic."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Viral advertising could be regulated by ASA

[Tags: , ]. New Media Age (June 9 2005 issue, p7) reports that the Advertising Standards Authority is "to consider extending its advertising code to viral advertising":
"NMA understands that the ASA's non-broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) has already agreed to discuss the issue at its next meeting in September. If CAP extends its remit into viral, advertisers could become liable to complaints and censure when using these techniques."
You can find out how the ASA currently "controls" ads in new media here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Google bombing, link farms and other jargon

[Tags: , , ]. OJR's Mark Glaser has put together a great article on the 'dark side' of Search Engine Optimisation, specifically operators such as Quixtar. It includes some very useful distillation of why interactive promotion is so important, such as the following quotes:
"Every major company, non-profit and religious group now has to worry about their Web reputation and has to pay very close attention to that first page of search results.

""Managing brand credibility and press exposure is nothing new," said Nan Dawkins, co-founder of Red Boots Consulting, which focuses on SEO for non-profits. "The only new wrinkle here is the medium [Internet/search engines] and the tactics used to get visibility in that medium. The reality is that search engines are VERY IMPORTANT to an organization's brand. Search engines are where people look for answers to their questions, and there are a lot of different takes on those answers. Your side of the story may appear, but it is a certainty that it will appear alongside other, varying opinions. If you don't manage it, it may manage you.""

While SEO is accepted within the industry, says Glaser, the complaint is about companies such as Quixtar using 'Google bombing' (explained here) and 'link farms' (explained here), among other techniques, to skew search results. Eric Janssen, the man behind Quixtar Blog, a site commenting on Quixtar's practices, puts it as follows:

"It's not about providing a great information resource that will be the #1 site on the Web. It's about flooding the Web with crap, and in that sewage, [they're] going to bury everyone else. That's my main concern."
Further reading suggested at the end of the article include:

Reuters: Google pulls, replaces Web page critical of Scientology

AdRants: Panera Launches Faux Blog

MetaFilter: Ashlee Simpson Message Forum Spam

Wall Street Journal: Online Buzz Helps Album Skyrocket to Top of Charts

Threadwatch.org: Google Caught Cloaking and Keyword Stuffing?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

SEO blogs

[Tags: , , ]. Here's an overview of blogs about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) that Lee Odden helpfully annotates.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Viral marketing contest

[Tags: , , ]. Reported by Media Daily News: sadly, it's lacking in links (although you can work out cryingwhileeating.com and blogebrity.com), but does have some very good quotes:

"[Sponsor Eyebeam's Jonah] Perretti said that the early dominance of the unusual CryingWhileEating.com shows viral advertisers the difficulty of predicting which virals will succeed, and which will be utterly ignored. "If you were creating advertising media for a client, it is unethical to tell your client that you can create something that will be wildly viral on the first try," he said. "If you're a client that's looking for viral marketing, you should expect to do a bunch of different attempts.""