VIRAL MARKETING: EPIDEMIC

Some people hate viral marketing and view it as a much-abused sales technique. This belief arises from the confusion many people have over the difference between viral marketing and so-called “junk e-mail” campaigns. In fact, many viral marketing schemes do rely to greater or lesser extent on getting individual users to forward e-mails out to large groups of other people.

The key to avoiding this perception—which can and will eventually lead to methods to ban or at least stymie the effectiveness of viral marketing campaigns—is include offerings that have interest and value to the end-users, even those who choose not to participate.

This is again one area in which the Hotmail campaign succeeded so very well because even people who did not sign up for the service were often getting benefits from being able to communicate with friends who otherwise might not have an e-mail carrier or account with which to share.

Perhaps one of the greatest threats for successful viral marketing campaigns is the increase in “Malware” software or links that cause harmful additions to users systems such as pop-ups, slowdowns and redirects on Internet pages. While some are legitimate attempts to gain market share or public attention, poor programs and links can cause great harm. And of course, the public has reacted adversely. Now, many potentially successful viral marketing campaigns have been restricted or even fouled by public skepticism and fear.

Malware and viruses are so prevalent that the public is often either overwhelmed and doesn’t even try to protect themselves or goes so far overboard that they refuse to even open or read e-mail messages from sources that they do not recognize. Neither approach is sound. But the latter, of course, will ruin any chance to market a new product or idea to these people by using e-mail as a communication method.

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The malware issue looms so large, that antivirus companies are now circulating lists of NON-harmful virus hoaxes along with the names of misunderstood programs the public fears.

Why?

They want to teach computer users the difference between perceived threats and real threats.

Here’s an example of one such list of perceived (but not real) threats:

• “Hello Dear” Hoax
• $800 from Microsoft Hoax
• 48 Hours Hoax
• A Moment Of Silence Hoax
• A Virtual Card For You Hoax
• ACE-? Mobile Phone Hoax
• AIDS Hoax
• All Seeing Eye hoax
• America Online FlashNews Hoax
• Anticristo Hoax
• AOL and Intel Hoax
• AOL Instant Message Hoax
• AOL Riot hoax
• AOL4FREE Hoax or What?
• Awareness Virus Hoax
• Baby New Year Virus Hoax
• Badtimes Hoax
• Be Spooked Hoax
• BestBuy Order Fraud Alert Hoax
• Bicho7 Hoax
• Big Brother hoax
• Blue Mountain Virus Hoax
• Blueballs Are Underrated Virus Hoax
• Blueman hoax
• Bud Frogs Screen Saver Hoax
• BUDDYLST.ZIP Hoax
• BUGGLST Hoax
• Bugslife Screensaver Hoax
• California.IBM hoax
• Cat-Colonic hoax
• CELCOM Screen Saver
• CellSaver Virus Hoax
• Coke.exe hoax
• Dana hoax
• Dear Friends Hoax
• Deeyenda Hoax
• Desi1love Hoax
• Despite Hoax
• Discount Virus Hoax
• Disney Hoax
• DR.SIMON.WAJNTRAUBWS Hoax
• Economic Slow Down Hoax
• Elfbowl
• Ericsson Free Phone Hoax
• EVIL THE CAT Virus Hoax
• Family Pictures Hoax
• FatCat Virus Hoax
• February 1 Hoax
• Flashmaster G
• Flower for You Hoax
• Forward Hoax
• Free flight Hoax
• FREE M & M’s Hoax
• Free Pizza Virus Hoax
• Friends Hoax
• FROGAPULT, ELFBOWL, Y2KGAME Virus Hoax
• Frogs and Fishes Hoax
• Funprog Hoax
• Gamma2.exe Hoax
• GAP E-mail Tracking Hoax
• Ghost.exe Hoax
• Gift from Microsoft Hoax
• Girl Thing hoax
• Girls of Playboy Hoax
• Goldbear Virus Hoax
• Good Times Hoax
• Google Trojan Hoax
• Got You Hoax
• Great Gas-Out Hoax
• Guts to Say Jesus hoax
• Hacky Birthday Virus Hoax
• Hairy Palms Virus Hoax
• Halloween Virus Hoax
• Happy New Year Hoax
• Help Poor Dog Virus Hoax
• Hitler Virus Hoax
• How to Give a Cat a Colonic Hoax
• ICE Virus Mobile Phone Hoax
• INFILTER Virus Hoax
• Intel Special Offer Hoax
• Internet Flower hoax
• Iraq War Hoax
• Irina Hoax
• Irish Virus hoax
• Jan1st20.exe Virus Hoax
• Jdbgmgr.exe hoax
• John Kennedy Jr Trojan Hoax
• Join The Crew Hoax
• JOKE_FLIPPED
• Kleneu66 hoax
• La Bible Des Moines Hoax
• Launch Nuclear Strike Now Hoax
• Let’s Watch TV Hoax
• Life is beautiful hoax
• LOC Hoax
• Londhouse Virus Hoax
• Lotus Notes Worm Hoax
• Lump of Coal Virus Hoax
• Macmebig hoax
• Manicomium Hoax
• Matrix Virus Hoax
• Milk Carton Bug
• Missing Child Hoax
• Mobile Phone Virus Hoax
• MSN Messenger add a contact Hoax
• Multi-hoax
• MusicPanel HOAX
• NASTYFRIEND99 Virus Hoax
• New York Big Dirt
• NEWYORK BIG DIRT Hoax
• Nokia Screensaver Hoax
• Norman Virus Hoax
• Olympic Torch Hoax
• Osama Hanged
• Osama vs Bush Hoax
• Pandemic Computer Virus Hoax
• Payback Hoax
• Penpal Hoax
• Perrin.exe Virus Hoax
• PHANTOM MENACE Hoax
• Pikachus Ball Hoax
• Pluperfect Virus Hoax
• Pokemon Hoax
• Pool Party e-mail Hoax
• Postal Service E-mail Charge Hoax
• Sandman URL Hoax
• SARC Virus Test Hoax
• Scoutshacker Hoax
• South Park News Letter Hoax
• SPARTAN HORSE Hoax
• St.Patrick’s Day Hoax
• SULFNBK Hoax
• Symantec ASDL Virus Hoax
• Tax Return Hoax
• The New Ice Age Hoax
• Tuxissa Virus Hoax
• T-virus Mobile Phone Hoax
• UNABLE TO DELIVER hoax
• Upgrade Internet 2 Hoax
• Valentine Greeting Hoax
• Very Cool Virus Hoax
• Virtual Card Virus Hoax
• Windows 98 Warning Hoax
• Windows will Fail on Jan 1 Hoax
• Wobbler Hoax
• Wooden Horse Hoax
• WordScribe Virus Hoax
• Work Virus Hoax
• World Domination Hoax
• WTC Survivor Hoax
• XALAN Mobile Phone Hoax
• Y2K7 Virus Hoax
• Y2KGame
• YIM Hard drive killer Hoax
• Your friend D@fit
• Your Screen Name Hoax
• ZZ331 Virus Hoax

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