How Will Viral Advertising Change the Web?

The web has long been rich in social and viral marketing elements. Email this to a friend, social bookmarking, blogging, etc. So many services have popped up that now there is a Social Media Firefox Extension and Andy Hagans is planning his fake review optimization service.

Ultimately the communities that are focused on a niche and editorially biased will be successful while aggregator websites that are nothing more than a feature that Google can add to their suite of services will die. Google quitely launched a Digg clone, and is aiming to create the underlying platform that powers most social networks. And they might bid on wireless spectrum in the US and UK.

As the leading portals collect more data they will be able to add value to more transactions and disintermediate middlemen by employing creative individuals to do jobs that were once done in offices. If people get paid for results then the quality of work goes up. Think of portals as television stations vying for a bite of your attention for as long as they possibly can, and looking to pay you for your attention with relevancy, and cash if you are really motivated.

There has always been a wall between editorial and advertising. Viral self select ads rip that down. Kevin Kelly recently posted about how he sees the new Google Gadget ads changing the face of advertising.

What happens when publishers can see what is hot right now and can create commercially oriented content targeting it in near real time? What happens when they are encouraged to track and test their results and can see the results of other ideas simply by the frequency they see it? Many current arbitrage opportunities are going to die, but others will thrive on this new opportunity.

The more third party platforms optimize revenue streams the more profitable niche attention based publishing will become. Generalist sites will be less profitable than highly specialized niche publishing. Results based distribution across large networks will force advertisers to give publishers a larger cut of revenue.The key is to scour through the ads and format them in a user friendly way to where they are looking at relevant content. You can't beat relevancy algorithms without bias, brand, focus, and strong editorial.

Published: September 22, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


September 23, 2007 - 4:32am

Do you think Google's bookmarking service will actually take off? I found it to be terribly clumsy and slow to use, so much so that I posted about it: (not trying to stuff links in your comments, just figured you and your readers might be interested). I figure the only way it will gain users is if they somehow get their proprietary sharing service to gain credibility (as opposed to Digg, etc.).

September 23, 2007 - 5:19am

Even Google's failures have done well. See this post on the Orkut failure, for instance.

I am sure they will evolve it and make it into something more meaningful. I think the initial launch was poor because they wanted to quietly launch it.

September 23, 2007 - 12:55pm

Do you think their failures do well because there are enough people with the mindset "Google made it it must be good", or because even their "failures" really are that good?

September 25, 2007 - 5:47am

I think some of it is just an extension of their size / volume (1% of a huge number is still a huge number), while another big piece is their marketing and public relations brilliance (viral launches, needing to be invited, etc.), internal testing prior to launch helped make it a smoother launch and made the opening seed set larger, and the last big piece is their willingness to accept feedback and change.

September 23, 2007 - 2:43pm


That KK article blew my mind (second to last link). He hit the nail on the

September 25, 2007 - 5:44am

Yeah ... it was good good stuff :)

October 24, 2007 - 12:42pm

I'm not I'm not exactly sure if what Google is doing could be called a Digg clone. It's so general it's almost useless. I agree with Aaron that the niche sites will do better.

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