Viral Video Revisited (and Proof that an Education from a Top University Can’t Buy Common Sense)

Posted on December 6, 2007
Filed Under Marketing 2.0 |

I was amused when TechCrunch published a post by Stanford student Dan Ackerman Greenberg on “The Secret Strategies Behind Many ‘Viral’ Videos.” Dan had posted a comment on The Drama 2.0 Show two days prior in response to my post on Stanford’s Facebook application course for which he is the TA. Dan thanked me for my post, apparently not recognizing that it was tongue-in-cheek, and even said that if I was “interesting,” I should check out the course website and blog. Needless to say, I was not initially impressed with Dan Ackerman Greenberg.

So when I read the post on TechCrunch in which he admitted that his company uses what many would consider to be unethical tactics such as forum spamming, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Not only did the post cause a firestorm which forced Dan to try to backtrack, it proved that a top university education can’t buy common sense. If Dan has clients who feel his recipe for viral video success is worth paying for, it was awfully stupid to reveal the recipe on TechCrunch, especially given the fact that it was obvious the tactics he uses would call his ethics into question. While the buzz landed Dan on CNN (where he didn’t exactly provide an awfully articulate pitch for his company), in some businesses, no PR is good PR: you want to keep a low profile. You won’t find the world’s top spammers, for instance, revealing their tricks of the trade on a blog. Common sense. As they say, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

I initially didn’t feel compelled to write about the Dan Ackerman Greenberg drama, but do think there are a few interesting points to be made, especially after reading some of the comments on TechCrunch:

At the end of the day, three things are apparent from all of this:

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2 Responses to “Viral Video Revisited (and Proof that an Education from a Top University Can’t Buy Common Sense)”

  1. Andy Blackburn on December 7th, 2007 8:02 am

    I would have to agree with the tangibility issues you refer to. There is no way to quantify, accurately, the additional traffic a viral video would generate.

    Even if you monitored traffic to your site, referred from Youtube, and then calculated an average hits per acquisition, you still couldn’t be certain.

    I’ve got a segment of my blog dedicated to viral marketing:

    Drop by some time and have a chat :)

  2. Drama’s Roundup - January 3, 2008 : The Drama 2.0 Show on January 3rd, 2008 8:37 pm

    […] graduates from even the best American universities are still clueless when they get their diplomas. As I’ve pointed out before, you can buy an education from a top university but you can’t buy common […]

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