Follow Up To The Viral Video Post: Dan Wants Another Word

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Dan Greenberg took a bit of a beating in his guest post earlier this week where he revealed his strategies for taking a client’s otherwise ho-hum video and making it go viral. Readers were incensed over his almost gleeful willingness to post fake discussions on forums between fake readers, pay bloggers to post videos, and other dishonest tactics. I, for one, agreed with most of those commenters.

He’s requested that we allow a follow up so that he can rephrase and clarify some of those statements. We agreed, and his follow up is below.

At one point Dan says “The original post was framed quite differently, but after going through the TechCrunch editorial filter, it ended up sounding like a tell-all about our shady business practices.” I am not aware of the edits that were made to his original post, but we are reviewing it now to see if any changes altered the original meaning. It is a fairly serious allegation, and we will follow up appropriately.

To all of who who’ve commented, positive and negative: thanks for being part of the first round of a much longer discussion.

The internet is changing, and it seems that my post has really struck a nerve. Hopefully we can use this as a jumping off point for an open discussion about the future of truth in advertising online. Whether we are talking about gaming strategies for YouTube videos, SEO strategies on Google, review optimization strategies on Yelp/Amazon, or any other behind the scenes guerrilla marketing that’s happening online, there is a lot to talk about.

The goal of the post was to pull back the curtain on some of the strategies/techniques that marketers are using online every day, on YouTube and beyond. The way I see it, if we can identify and understand the marketing strategies that are going on behind the scenes, we can move forward towards a more open, honest internet, where content truly does prevail.

I hope we can continue this discussion here on TC, on other blogs, on Facebook, and in person. Email me at dan @ thecomotiongroup dot com if you’d like to meet in person, chat via email, or on the phone.

That said, there were some facts in this post that I’d like to clarify. The post was intended to be a how-to for marketers on YouTube, morals aside, in an attempt to bring to light everything that could be (and is) going on on YouTube and beyond. However, I DO NOT EMPLOY OR ENDORSE ALL OF THE STRATEGIES USED IN THE POST. I’ve been holding myself back from responding to each and every commenter because I want to let this discussion play out on its own, but there are a few key things I’d like to clarify.

  1. We do NOT spam email lists. This would be an effective strategy, but unless you have a list of people who have opted in to receive email of that nature, it would be illegal.
  2. We do NOT pay off bloggers to post our videos as if they were real blog posts. Rather, we pay bloggers to embed clearly marked video ads in their sites, with no false endorsements of any kind. Again, it would be an effective strategy, but I don’t endorse it.
  3. We have NOT manipulated any of the comments in this post. (Though I do wish that all those deeply negative comments about me were actually fake.)
  4. We do NOT spam MySpace profiles or Facebook users. At least on MySpace, it’s against the TOS, and I don’t think it’s legal. On Facebook, yes, I often share our clients videos with friends, but only to share the cool videos we’ve made with people who care.

Again, this post was intended to be pulling back the curtain on everything that’s going on on YouTube, not specifically about what we do in our business.

The original post was framed quite differently, but after going through the TechCrunch editorial filter, it ended up sounding like a tell-all about our shady business practices.

In fact, most of our business consists of the creative content side of viral marketing campaigns: coming up with ideas for compelling campaigns, and shooting/editing videos. The core value we add to a viral campaign is that we come up with a concept that will truly go viral. The ideas presented here are only a way to ensure that the content gets an opportunity to actually be seen. And again, we do not engage in or endorse all of these strategies.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for participating in this discussion, particularly those of you who offered calm, reflective criticism of some of the techniques described in this post.

I’ll be posting a longer followup to this later on my blog, and I hope that we can all engage in a positive, constructive discussion about marketing, advertising, and the future of our interactions through the internet.

As we all continue to develop our thoughts and plans around internet marketing, it is important that we all many of these views into account, as I surely will.

Again, email me at dan @ thecomotiongroup dot com if you’d like to meet in person, chat via email, or on the phone.

Dan Ackerman Greenberg

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