“Going viral” is the latest marketing buzzword to make it into the public consciousness. This phrase refers to a process where something is promoted mainly by word of mouth. The “viral” part of the phrase means to imply that popularity will spread exponentially, like a virus.1
The most memorable examples of “viral marketing” in recent years is probably the “Blair Witch Project.” This super-low budget movie was popularized largely through word of mouth, making the highest profit-to-cost ratio movies of all time.2
What does this have to do with you or PDRater.com?
Scott Adams, the creator and author of the wildly popular Dilbert comic, recently published a blog post about what he referred to as, “digital tipping.” He puts up a blog post every day3 but makes little to no money off of it. Recently he partnered with a company which provides a free service4 in the hopes, or so I believe, that people will use the free service and upgrade to the pay service providing him, in turn, with a financial reward.
Scott Adams made an interesting point about how his blogging has affected his core business – publishing comic strips.5 He discovered that his sometimes controversial blog posts sometimes turned people off from his comic strip – thereby losing a portion of his fan base forever. On the flip side, although his blog is fairly popular his blog rarely improves his comic strip fan base.
A simple cost benefit analysis would suggest that the observed risk is not worth the potential incremental benefit – especially in light of the ongoing time commitment required to publish blog posts. I suspect that my own blog posts have a similar risk-reward scenario.
Assuming that I’m acting rationally in blogging, why do I continue to do so in light of an unfavorable bost benefit analysis? Firstly, I rather enjoy writing. Secondly, its my understanding that search engines rank frequently updated websites slightly higher. Thirdly, it is my hope that popularity, knowledge, and use of this website will “go viral.”
Much like Scott Adam’s concept of “digital tipping,” I hope people will help me at no cost to themselves by telling their friends about this website, how useful it is for them, and how this website saves them time. So, if you enjoy or appreciate this website, why not tell a friend?