start a fire

Start A Fire Helps You Take Credit When You Turn Stories Into Viral Hits

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If you’re the kind of person who shares TechCrunch articles on social media, a) thank you, and b) do you ever wonder how much traffic you’re bringing us?

Oren Barzilai, co-founder and CEO of Israeli startup Start A Fire, presented a more-or-less analogous situation to me. He said that when someone who has tens of thousands of Twitter followers, they may “generate huge value” for the publisher when they share a story. Yet even if their tweet or Facebook post helps the piece go viral, “no one will ever know.”

Well, that’s not entirely true — there’s a kind of credit that comes if you get a lot of retweets or likes. But what about people who saw your post, then shared it on their own, and then people who shared after that, and so on?

That’s why Start A Fire has built a product that helps you take credit whenever a story gets shared from your initial post — all the way throughout your sharing lineage, if you will. It allows you to share custom links on social media and in your email newsletters. Then as that link gets passed around, a badge reading “Shared by YOUR NAME HERE” stays with it — so if you’re the original sharer who turned something into a viral hit, a lot more people will know.

Does that seem like a weird thing to take credit for? Well, it kind of is, but consider that curating news stories is something people have built businesses around. And, more relevant to Start A Fire’s strategy, consider the brand perspective: This kind of sharing can be important part of their content marketing strategy, giving consumers another reason to follow them on Twitter or Like their page on Facebook or subscribe to their newsletter.

Customers can also insert their own content recommendations into that badge. Barzilai pitched this as an alternative to content recommendation widgets like Outbrain and Taboola — except that with Start A Fire, the recommendations are coming from someone who’s shared something that interested you. At least in theory, there’s a good chance those recommendations could be high-quality and somewhat related to what you’re already reading.

Start A Fire also offers analytics about the success of each post and connects with social sharing/marketing services Buffer, HubSpot and Oktopost.

The startup says it’s already being used by 150 brands, including CB Insights, inVision, Sequoia Capital and OpenView Ventures. It’s currently in invite-only mode, but it’s accepting invite requests on its website.