Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Thinking About Virality

Looks like I’m going to be writing an article about viral marketing. So, as a way to get thinking about it, and hopefully get you guys to think about it for me a little bit, I’m going to get my thought process started right here.

Here’s what they want:

What we’re interested in is ways in which marketers can successfully exploit, stimulate and even (a little) manage the generation and progress of referrals (buzz, virals, etc). This means understanding more about how the process actually works (research) and seeing how successful operators have got it to work (case studies). There are a number of classic cases out there – BMW Films springs to mind – but not very many really good ones; and I’ve seen perhaps one decent research paper trying to analyse the process.

Here are some of my first thoughts/general jumping off points and links:

1. I think a lot of interesting stuff has come out of the Contagious Media Showdown. While it exists in a bit of a different realm because it was a competition, there are definitely some lessons to be learned about how links travel, what people enjoy, who’s enjoying it, etc. (Links: Slate article by the person behind Crying While Eating, Interview with Jonah Peretti, a director at Eyebeam, OJR article about the Contagious Media Showdown, David Galbraith looks at Blogebrity)

2. What’s the impact of “accidental” virals. These are the ads that companies claim they had no part in, and usually have some bad taste to them. The VW suicide bomber commercial is a good example.

3. Follow these links and find lots of good viral: Fimoculous post on why Rex doesn’t entirely hate viral marketing (includes lots of great viral marketing examples and resources), my American Demographics article about word-of-mouth marketing.

4. Scoble had some interesting comments on viral marketing. It’s especially interesting to think about how easy it is nowadays to find the connectors online (bloggers). It’s easy to find out what they like/don’t like and work from there.

5. This Danish paper on viral marketing. Unfortunately, only the executive summary is in English, but it’s got some interesting stuff.

Sorry for the lack of focus here, but it’s a start. What would you add/suggest I look at?

June 30, 2005