The Secrets behind many Viral Videos….the anti-Christ within the Social Web

I have seen many attempts to produce a formula for viral video to drive sales. A lot of the rules are similar but one would argue that “viral” is the result of the effort as opposed to the strategy. Anyone intending on creating viral video can absolutely expect to witness incremental growth in traffic or sales if done right but it can come at a cost. The video below summarizes one of those strategies from The Comotion Group.

I have had the pleasure of working with Dan Ackerman-Greenberg, founder of The Comotion Group. This was the infamous post that was featured in techcrunch titled “The Secret Strategies Behind Many Viral Videos” and the immense controversy it drew. The tactics used by Dan and Matt to successfully get videos to the number 1 position involved using staff to create comments to draw attention to the post and seeding the video in networks, and even faking headlines. Hmm…sounds like something any company would do to drive sales.

In the world of social networking, Rule No. 1 talks about authenticity ie being real. Authenticity has always been a difficult position to maintain where marketing is concerned. Let’s face it — you are selling a product. You have limited time and limited budget. To build authenticity follows a set of new rules. You need TIME — time to build a network…time to build credibility….time to build a legitimate following….Only then can you even hope to drive that traffic or start evangelizing your products. It’s not within the realm of possibility when you have to meet quarter-end goals. Dan has a proven formula that works. If you look at his website, it’s merely a webform. Both Dan and Matt have had such huge success as a result of the article they haven’t had time to even create a website. Yes, it’s controversial…but it can be a potential short-term gain for those who don’t have the luxury of time. The consequences can also be enormous. So…proceed with caution.


  1. Great post, great food for thought. Authentic messaging is always advised. Doesn’t mean humor isn’t a viable strategy.

  2. Thanks jungle8. Humour is totally a viable strategy. We just have to watch that it doesn’t cross the lines of credibility.

  3. Great post, I agree. I don’t know there but in Italy seems that all the companies, starting from the bigger jumping to the smaller, haven’t TIME to build network, legitimate following, credibility.
    Every video must be a viral. Every application must be the “killer” ones. Viral and killer application must be QUICK.

    And humor helps us all to gain audience. But not the “humor” cross the line, but the “fake” could do it. Some of the RULES in the Dan’s strategy are “not correct” but, let’s start to talk free, I don’t remember one business “viral” rised the top without this activities.

    Sorry for my bad English. 🙂

  4. Thanks Tizio. The long term strategy to build legitimacy as a company needs to incorporate truth and transparency, which means it’s going to be a slow but prosperous growth within the social network community and eventually sales. For the most part, I believe that viral results are happenchance based on “unique”, show-stopping content. While there are tonnes of examples, there is no proven formula for what this actually means. Dan’s strategy has indicated that content is NOT king. While I disagree, the other “fakery” and viral strategies probably offset the natural outcome of the video. I’d like to hear what you guys have to say. What works?

  5. By the way, here’s some more food for thought. This video I caught on Adage features top blogger Joe Jaffe, who totally embraces authenticity and the art of conversing on the web. Here he talks about top brands who’ve employed fakery and manipulation in their interactions with consumers. Have a read:

  6. Being real is more and more important in this day of scams and scammers.


  1. […] Secrets Behind Many Viral Videos…..Part II: An Apology My previous post drew some interesting comments from other bloggers but it also profoundly affected the person about […]

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