The Root of All Evil — Bad Communications?

The concepts of viral marketing are well understood and part of the marketing/branding strategy of a lot of companies and new products: the company starts by hiring a creative team to develop an ad, a meme, or something similarly catching that will get people’s attention. Then, they shoot a video, upload it to YouTube, place links on spam networks, buy ads on AdSense, hire bloggers to write some stories, and generally get the snowball rolling down the mountain. Within days or even hours, other people will start to pick on these tidbits of news and ads, linking to their own blogs, backtracking to pages which have them, use them on their own MySpace pages, and so on. The brands get awareness. They get free exposure on a lot of sites. The backtracking will help Google PageRank. And so on.

This is deliberately done by experts who know the Internet market so very well that they can tell a company exactly what will work, and what will be seen as “spam” or obnoxious use of bandwidth. It’s not as easy to do as some business magazines pretend it is, but, done well, it gives excellent results. It is, also, relatively cheap.

Linden Lab, however, did not follow this route (or, if they did, they had little success). Instead, they focused on fans of Second Life to spread some news around (through the “Fansite Toolkit”) and spare the costs of advertising in doing what Linden Lab does best: developing software and maintaining a 3D content hosting infrastructure.

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