Power Of Viral Marketing Essay

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The Power of Viral Marketing Blake Rohrbacher | November 8, 2000 Did you know that when one person has a good online experience, he or she will turn around and tell 12 more people? By the same token, if that person has a bad experience, 12 others will also know about it. Opinion Research Corporation International (ORCI) found that users told an average of 12 other people about an online shopping experience. This is the dynamic that powers viral marketing. Viral marketing has become the Holy Grail for Internet marketers looking to copy the success of Hotmail or ICQ. Most everyone wants to take his or her product and "make it viral." It's important, though, to stop and think about what underlies viral marketing. When people talk about viral marketing, they may not realize that they're really talking about several variations of the same theme. These variations of viral marketing operate for different reasons and by different mechanisms, and they have different effects. However, most seem to have the same mechanism at their core -- a focus on providing the user with quality products or experiences. The way I see it, there are five types of viral marketing: four "good" and one "bad." Below is a little primer in viral marketing. Note that in four examples out of five, you can't "make it viral." Value Viral What it is: People share quality experiences with others. How it works: Joe tries product X and finds it to be very good. He then tells Jane to try it. Product examples: Hotmail, PalmPilots, Harry Potter books Web site examples: Amazon, Yahoo How to "make it viral": You can't. The products alone must be good enough to foster user chatter. "Tell a Friend" technologies do not make a product viral; they merely allow users to tell others about good products. Guile Viral What it is: People try to "sell" to others in exchange for incentives. How

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