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Viral marketing, yes it can be related to disease


How can a session with the title What I Learned from Syphilis- Epidemiology & Viral Marketing not peak your interest?  David Hornik is starting off, and I’d like to say first that thus far … he’s got my attention.  A good speaker and interesting.  Lots of slides .. but it’s a good thing in this case.  It’s like he’s the straightman for his slides.

PR vs Marketing … PR free, but no control.  Marketing costs, but you have control.  Viral marketing matters … free with control.  Hmm, marketing nirvana?  Fuel of Web 2.0, he says.

Okay … let’s start getting into the icky stuff .. syphilis.  What is it about viruses that make them what they are … and why does the analogy work?  “Good” viruses are:

  • Highly communicable
  • Uses social conventions
  • Prey on vulnerabilities — not all orifices are created equal.  Viruses best friends (in order) handshakes, sex, drugs, food prep (well might have to put my science hat on here soon)Microsoft is the internet’s Rectum.  Big target, there are lots of vulnerabilities.  Firefox is the oral cavity (it’s harder to transmit).  Plugins are a risk.  No matter what.
  • go where the people are
  • silent but deadly
  • hard to or impossible to remove

Viral example … internet enabled gaming … Xbox Live … World of Warcraft … those online quizzes …

Yes… Ebola virus … virulent, communicable … but it kills everyone really fast (and ugly).  On the other side a pandemic flu.  Very true.

Plaxo … bad for a while, then got worse.  LinkedIn figured it out.  Browsing companions … they died out because they were annoying and a problem.

For a virus to continue, it must evolve and adapt.  Otherwise it can’t continue to spread.  The flu, the cold, even HIV.  So in the web 2.0 world, widgets, adaptation, new features, etc.

Something that stays in the background, or you don’t know you have it, and takes a long time to kill you (or never does…eg herpes).


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