Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Viral Marketing Examples - Linkbait

I'm constantly intrigued by the clever ideas I see and hear about that people are using for viral marketing and linkbait. While it's only loosely related to affiliate marketing, the concept of linkbait and starting an "Idea Virus" is definitely one that can be used to generate affiliate and/or advertising income on the Internet. I'm posting a list of example linkbait and viral marketing successes here to help people get their own ideas flowing.

1. All My Life For Sale - This was originally just a guy named John Freyer who decided to sell literally everything he owned on eBay. Now it's a website, a hardcover book, and a piece of performance art that's on display at multiple museums.

2. One Red Paperclip - Kyle MacDonald posted an offer on CraigsList to trade a red paperclip for something "bigger and better". Since then he has traded up 14 times, and just finished a trade to get a house. According to the Sitemeter on his website, he's receiving close to 200,000 visits to his website daily. If you assume that he's earning an average of $1 CPM for those Google Adsense ads he's got running on the site, then he's earning $6k per month just from that advertising. (And that $1 figure is a total wild guess on my part - it would be much more or much less than that.)

3. The $39 Experiment - Tom Locke got 100 39 cent stamps and mailed off 100 letters to various companies asking for free stuff. He then recorded his responses on his website.

4. The Million Dollar Homepage - Alex Tew decides to sell 1 million pixel ads on his website for $1 each and becomes a huge success story spawning literally thousands of imitators.

5. Pink Bunny Poker - Jeremy Enke auctions off his services as a poker player (wearing a pink bunny suit) at the World Series of Poker. He generates much publicity, many backlinks, and a good deal of money from his sponsor, Golden Palace Casino, who bought his eBay auction. (Golden Palace participates in these kinds of viral marketing stunts constantly, by the way.)

You'll notice that all of the linkbait and viral marketing examples mentioned in this post have some things in common:
  • There's actually a person with a name involved in the stunt.
  • All of the stunts are outrageous and/or quirky enough to warrant attention.
  • Most of them involve a combination of some kind of ingenuity with something that is already on the minds of consumers.

More on the last point. All My Life For Sale took advantge, in part, of the amazing success of eBay. One Red Paperclip borrows some popularity from the incredible success of Craigslist. Jeremy's Pink Bunny idea took advantage of the popularity of online poker, the World Series of Poker, eBay, and Golden Palace. The $39 Experiment is about 100 different companies, almost all of whom are well known.

Can you cook up a recipe for some linkbait now? Can you make money with a viral marketing campaign with these ingredients? I know that I have a couple of ideas now myself.

3 Comments:

At 8:23 AM , Blogger Bob Schmuck said...

Nice post, man.

I know this post got a lot of people's minds trying to think of a "viral idea".

Personally, viral ideas are not my main focus in my Internet jurnay but I still enjoy reading about other people's ideas.

 
At 9:03 PM , Blogger Rich said...

Randy you wrote that whole post about linkbaiting and you didn't even drop I and Hagans' link baiting service a freebie link...for shame.

 
At 10:37 PM , Blogger Chip said...

I'm not entirely sure, but I "think" I wrote this post before you offered such a service. But if I'm mistaken, that's cool too. I'm just excited to have such an Internet luminary actually reading my blog.

 

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