- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Viral Videos = The New Paid Post?
Have we moved from paid blog posts to paid viral video posts? It sure seems that way with the post coming out of Techcrunch tonight. Let me start by saying that about 2 months ago, a local NY startup posted a comment on a post on CN which seemed more like a marketing ploy than a legit comment. When I called the company to ask them about it, they said that they hired a firm to plant comments all over the place. We exchanged some emails with them telling me that they knew better than I – I said fine. Eventually they came back and said I was right.
Over my years in a role where I either made decisions or was party to the decisions at one of the largest public companies, so many Internet marketing scams came across my desk. The one thing I said all along was that if anyone finds out you are running a scam, it will be bad… very bad.
Before we jump into the info below – let me say that gaming only works for a short time because eventually everyone begins to game the same way. Dan speaks about 100k views, eventually its 1m, 5m, etc. And the most important part is what Dan leaves out – the real net benefit – which there probably is none. Anyone can get numbers my friend. Is Dan selling us the new paid post which just happens to be a video?
Tonight we have Dan Greenberg who is the newest infomercial salesman – "I can get you to 100k views on your video!" — Reminds me of the guy who in his latest infomercial now teaches others how to sell infomercials because he wanted to finally show everyone how to do it. And now Dan is doing the same for us! Is this what he is teaching the new class at Stanford where he is a TA?
Dan can’t tell us who his clients are because naturally it would ruin them. Don’t worry Dan, we already know.
I love part 3 – "The Core Strategy" – which is basically to fake everything and pay to get hits. Here is one nugget, "Blogs: We reach out to individuals who run relevant blogs and actually pay them to post our embedded videos. Sounds a little bit like cheating/PayPerPost, but it’s effective and it’s not against any rules." LAWL.
Dan also teaches us thumbnail optimization – "It’s no surprise that videos with thumbnails of half naked women get hundreds of thousands of views."
The good doctor sums up the article better than I ever could, "That is, when there is financial incentive and opportunity to game a system — even when that system has the appearance of being “open”, “transparent”, and built upon the goodwill and trust of its users (how typically quaint!) — someone will do it."
Howard Lindzon notes, "Forget the tricks, the ones given are old news. They don’t build audience. Who cares about 100,000 views. Wallstrip does not have one video on YouTube with 100,000 views. That was never important to Adam, Jeff and I…audience was. That comes from showing up every day with an idea and a focus. That created influence. I would say we proved that."
The part Howard leaves out is that marketers and advertisers still care (unfortunately) about numbers instead of the audience he speaks of.
Lastly, Ashkan Karbasfrooshan weighs in with, "It’s a numbers’ game, for sure, but you shouldn’t be cooking the numbers to win. Call me naive, call me idealistic, but that’s my philosophy."
Look, here is the bottom line in a much shorter post than the one on TC – any system will be gamed. And any system where there is a financial stake will be gamed even further. But it lasts for a short time and the negative consequences far outweigh the temporary benefit.