AOL is getting some help spreading the buzz from New York City startup BuzzFeed. In an interesting experiment in viral marketing on its own site, which is a memetracker showing stories and videos going viral on the Web, BuzzFeed is highlighting related AOL articles and videos. It is a business partnership, but it will only show AOL stories and videos which are themselves going viral.
For instance, at the bottom of this page about a UFO sighting in China, there is a related “Weird News” story from AOLNews.
Pairing viral content is what BuzzFeed does, but in this case the pairing is sponsored. BuzzFeed itself isn’t a huge site, but it does power viral campaigns for other media sites. AOL is already a customer using its viral analytics and other services.
Jon Steinberg, who recently left Polaris Ventures to become president of Buzzfeed, says the idea is that in the future other BuzzFeed customers like FunnyOrDie, CollegeHumor, or Time.com could use the same underlying technology to surface related viral stories from across the BuzzFeed network. Then it would become a way to cross-promote viral content—and thus make it catch on even more. Genius.
Buzzfeed was founded by Jonah Peretti, who also helped start the Huffington Post. Last May, he raised an $8 million Series B from RRE Ventures, Founder Collective (Chris Dixon) and SVA Angel (Ron Conway).