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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Smile Viral Marketing Successes?
    With all the difficulties in generating search engine traffic we're all forced to try new avenues of traffic generation. I'm starting to focus on viral marketing and am curious what successes you've had in this? I understand it's very easy to do this wrong and get absolutely no results, but I've seen a few cases where it works very well. Friendster and MySpace are both great examples of a solid viral marketing plan. I admire what they've accomplished and now it's my turn to jump on the bandwagon. This sort of technique demands a great deal of technology so I doubt many here have tried it. If you have, let's hear your stories.

    For those who aren't familiar with what I'm talking about, viral marketing is generating traffic by word of mouth. When you see a site that says tell a friend or 'invite', this is viral marketing. Most of the time, the site doesn't offer anything valuable enough to merit an invite, but in some rare cases it can take off. Another great example is evite.com. They give you a page to promote an event such as a party and a means to send emails to friends and family in order to promote your event. Friendster lets you create a vanity page with a profile, photos and information about yourself. This has become a bit of a phenomenon because people collect friends and proceed to build up a roster of friends. This system lets you browse your own friends as well as their friends and so on. It's very ingenious but they've been struggling with building a solid revenue generating model. I believe something like this will do extremely well for affiliates, so I hope to be one of the first to jump aboard.

    Anybody else have these types of ambitions? Let's hear your thoughts. I'm very excited about this and want to share my excitement. I can't wait to begin development and hope to complete a rough model shortly. If this takes off, I'll be sure to post a followup.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  2. #2
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Is there any simple way to install "tell a friend about this site"? Any open source stuff available? Any way to plug something in that works without having to buy the whole farm?

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Viral marketing is an important part of how we continue to grow traffic. Part of it is automated (Herb, we have an "E-mail this to a friend" link at the bottom of each story in our database-driven content system), part of it is a little more labor-intensive.

  4. #4
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Herb,

    You can go to someplace like hotscripts.com and find many free TAF scripts. If I have them on my sites, they were on the technically simple side to install. I prefer this method over free hosted services (nothing is really for free) and I have complete control over the email addresse being submitted.

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you build your own, make sure you design it in such a way that the form can't be used to send spam. Read more here:

    http://bontragercgi.com/Web_Page_For...derations.html

    Basically, hackers will insert linefeeds, extra header information, and encoded versions of the body of their spam messages into the "From Email Address" or "From Name" fields. When they do this, they can get your server to send thousands of spam emails.

    Also, make sure to look closely at any free scripts you might implement. Many of them are not immune to this problem.
    Michael Coley
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     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  6. #6
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib

    Anybody else have these types of ambitions? Let's hear your thoughts. I'm very excited about this and want to share my excitement. I can't wait to begin development and hope to complete a rough model shortly. If this takes off, I'll be sure to post a followup.

    - Scott
    If only I could get this type of thing rolling! I have a site now that about 20 million Americans and countless other world citizens would find useful. I just can't get it off the ground yet.

    My site, however, is not entertainment in nature, but practical. Entertainment is what people seem to go for in this type of marketing. People want to score social points with their friends by providing a laugh. (Ex jibjab) They usually don't send a link for a shopping site to their friends or a site on home repair. Like the quiet, plain-spoken "good guy" at the party, my handyman site gets left alone. The downside of the entertainment site however is that they have a short life - viewed once and forgotten.

    This is a science. I am guessing the growth in traffic may be initially exponential with a doubling in traffic at a regular interval. (Ex. 20 per day after 1 week, 40 per day after 2 weeks, 80 per day after 3 weeks, and so on.) At some point you reach a "leveling off" and the growth may even turn negative if just about everybody has seen the site. Of course by that time you would pocket an aweful lot of money with views by a good chunk of all possible viewers! The beauty of all this is you are not beholden to Yahoo, Google, or any other search engine!

    Definitely use an easy to remember "Brandable" domain name.

    Make a site that EVERYBODY has to see. Would this be a site that someone would say "You have to see this!" in an email to a friend?

    I have had the problem Michael Coley described with a Tell-a-friend script I used a while back. Basically, if you don't have a site people want to bother telling their friends about they won't use the script anyway. An exception would be emailing breaking news items to friends.

    All of this is easier said than done!
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Smile
    Some great points about securing your system. The method I'm talking about only allows registered users to invite friends. This way a spammer might have a harder time exploiting the system. I don't know if you have tried www.myspace.com, but it's definitely worth a look. Their method is very unique and cutting edge. I truely admire what they'e done and believe they've taken this form of marketing to a new level. It gives each individual an identity and a status within the system. None of this information is available to search engines and it's entirely locked within the network. It's really an interesting way to go. It's going to take some work to make it happen in an affiliate site, but I think it can be done. Just look at the community oriented features of Amazon. They've managed to build a product oriented service that also acts as a portal and community.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Smile
    Cheese,

    What you said about entertainment is true, but there is a lot of use in keeping in contact with your friends. Suppose you're a carpenter and you've got carpenter friends that you'd like to bring into an online circle (think about Yahoo groups). You can communicate amongst one another within a website and use it as a meeting ground. You can even discuss tools between one another and suggest the proper materials when your friend needs help with a project. ABW is a great community oriented site. We all get together, form alliances and discuss affiliate marketing. Of course it's not easy to build a community of like minds without a strong establishment or compelling system, so that's what I'm getting at. A system like I'm discussing really helps bridge the gap between the real world and the internet. Friendster was the first site that acted like AIM or MSN chat. Rather than just inviting your friends to share a site, you're inviting friends to grab a hold of them.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  9. #9
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Cool
    one of my sites is a directory of almost 7000 special shops in two countries that are meccas for a certain kind of shopper. Google has been sending about a quarter of the visitors that were coming in two years ago. In fact, many of the visitors these days are coming in from prior placement on their favorites lists.

    By the way, I've avoided the on-site chat deals as a potential draw.

    Time to get some new referrals. I'll be looking for the gotchas, and thank you all for the ideas, sources, and cautions.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador
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    Successful viral marketing:

    http://195.92.224.73/j20/content/host.asp

  11. #11
    Member x10admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    Is there any simple way to install "tell a friend about this site"? Any open source stuff available? Any way to plug something in that works without having to buy the whole farm?
    :: Hello ::

    One of my favorite tools for Viral marketing is www.ConstantContact.com they offer scripts for "Gift Registry" as well as "Send this page to a friend" they also will show you stats concerning emails and viral marketing initiatives. It is also a FREE service untill you have at elast 200 Emails in your ContstantContact database.

    Let me know what you think..

  12. #12
    Full Member markschok's Avatar
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    After looking at a few tell a friend scripts I decided to use this one,
    http://www.stadtaus.com/en/php_scrip...friend_script/
    You just link to it, and it refers the page the link came from. Easy to use and seems secure enough, so far.

  13. #13
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Cheesehead - how about a handyman humor - jokes page.
    Kinda like "you know you're a redneck when..." page but geared to home improvement.

    Send it along to a few friends to get the ball rolling.
    Ebudae


  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador
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    If you have a site catering to the affiliate crowd, i have some pics of BLFH when there used to be the ABW Thursday Cam Nite. Put those up, gets lots of viral affiliate traffic.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Why not give your visitors a content editor and photo upload tool so they can build pages of their own to spread on their own? This is what I'm suggesting.
    Last edited by Haiko de Poel, Jr.; April 19th, 2005 at 08:59 AM. Reason: Per Request
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Successful viral marketing:

    http://195.92.224.73/j20/content/host.asp


    TrustNo1,

    I get a black screen. I am using the Opera browser.

    Is it supposed to be black?

    Is this a "Black Screen of Death" or are they now offline?

    Or is this your artful symbolic opinion of viral marketing?

    Best,

    RadarCat, Webmaster
    http://www.os2warplinks.com

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    It's a great marketing tool for IE and Firefox users. Pretty tough though, I kept peeing on my feet.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  18. #18
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    I piss straight but my gf would say otherwise and that i sprinkle on the lid sometimes

  19. #19
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    I piss straight but my gf would say otherwise and that i sprinkle on the lid sometimes
    a case for http://mapsu.org/

    caution: lotsa popups for some reason

  20. #20
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    now there's an example of viral marketing!

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Here's a fantastic article on the subject:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...UG65A8Q1I1.DTL

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  22. #22
    Member infoscott's Avatar
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    My beadersoutlet sites run exclusively on viral marketing. They all have PR0 but I get about 75 to 150 impressions a day, and it is converting well enough. Half the content is generated inside Blogger blogs, and I have the option of email turned on. If I think it could be spammed, I set comments to require Blogger login, otherwise I leave it open. I've been thinking about putting in the rel=nofollow attribute for the comment pages.

    Since I visit two beading boards and have the site(s) mentioned in my sigs, that's how people find the bread crumbs. One site is devoted to FAQ entries, and these all have email links, so if some gal finds the answer to her long search, she can email the question/answer to her other beading buddy. When commonly asked questions pop up on a forum that I monitor, I provide a link to that archived FAQlet.

    What's really cool about the viral vs. page rank thing, is the forum I frequent most is on a parent site with a PR7, and forum is rebranded through three different TLDs. Google searches on the subject matter usually pull up one of the forum entries on the first page of results. They can't see my sig if they're not logged in, but if they're interested enough they can sign up to the board to read the thread, and then they see my sig. It works so well that my long lost brother actually googled me and found me through a forum post.

    On the calendar/events page I turned all the calendar entries into individual blogs. I also customized the comments to act as a mini meet up board on an event by event basis. So when people use those to hook up it's getting the word out.

    It's all very exciting right now working under the radar, but I keep a spare pair of clean shorts ready for the day the sites get indexed by the search engines.
    [LEFT]Scott :tartanber [URL=http://www.scotthamilton.net]My Vanity Page[/URL][/LEFT]

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager nish's Avatar
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    Snib,

    Quite a few months since you started this thread. You had quite a few interesting ideas. Wondering if you had any luck with viral marketing? Curious to know.

    cheers!
    -nishith

  24. #24
    Affiliate Marketer Rogi's Avatar
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    Has anyone tried developing some kind of 'funny story' (perhaps in video) and sent it around via email and watch it spread? I mean, so many people send each other so many emails every day of 'funny things' whether they're images, stories, videos, etc.

    We've just developed a funny video related to what we do (for my merchant site) and about to start e-mailing it around and watching it spread.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nish
    Snib,

    Quite a few months since you started this thread. You had quite a few interesting ideas. Wondering if you had any luck with viral marketing? Curious to know.

    cheers!
    -nishith
    I've implemented quite a few things I listed here and I'm seeing a very positive effect on my traffic and sales. I get more registered users than before and my type-in traffic is increasing daily. I've weaned myself off relying so much on the search engines and everything is on the up and up! I still haven't achieved mainstream success, but I hope that can happen next year. My goal is to break into the media and really make a name for myself. I've still got my work cut out for me, but things are coming along great!

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

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