Viral Loop Paperback – 19 Aug 2010
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One of the most astounding things about the Web age is how the best advertising is often no advertising at all. Penenberg masterfully explains how this works with case studies of products that were designed to spread. Every product can use a dose of this technique; this is the book to get to learn how. Recommended! (Chris Anderson, bestselling author of The Long Tail and Free)
In tight, engaging prose, Adam captures the essence of the ever-scaling power of the virus. It's not just for geeks any more. (Seth Godin, author of Tribes)
Penenberg has unlocked the secret to the most successful digital businesses. An indispensable read. (Robert Safian, Editor-in-Chief, Fast Company)
Adam Penenberg's lively book opens a window to all of our futures. (Ken Auletta, author of Backstory)
If you want to understand all things viral, this is the place to start. Penenberg's reporting gives us a ringside seat for some of the biggest viral success stories in history, from Tupperware to Ning. (Dan Heath, co-author of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die)
Penenberg discovers the perpetual motion machine for business and marketing... Buy this book. Catch a virus. Make a fortune. (Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?)
Instead of entrusting your business to a guru with an agenda and a ghostwriter, you should be turning to a pro journalist like Adam Penenberg, who understands the way media and money interact, has the critical faculty to engage with these phenomena in an unbiased fashion, and the technical facility to explain them to you in an entirely engaging, informative, and actionable way. (Douglas Rushkoff, author of Media Virus and Life Inc.)
An intriguing expose of a simple idea worth its weight in gold and then some. (Cairns Post)
Word of mouth is nothing new in terms of marketing a product... This is "the power of pass-it-on", according to Penenberg, who looks at how an old idea has been made new again by the likes of Facebook, MySpace and Hot or Not... Penenberg writes accessibly about this "paradigm-busting phenomenon" and makes it all sound so simple. (The Sunday Mail Brisbane, and The Sunday Telegraph)
Viral Loop tidily presents a history of viral case studies from analog to digital...This history of social networking benefits from in-depth first-person research. (Courier Mail)
A ground-breaking, agenda-setting book that reveals the business model that has propelled the likes of YouTube, Google, Facebook and MySpace to global success.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Neatly and efficiently, it relates the stories of several of these companies that have succeeded through clever use of the public. And fascinating stories they are.
And yet..and yet..
There's something missing here. The book is fun and interesting. But it could have been so much more. it could have been much more analytical, letting the reader see behind the business.
I enjoyed it, but I didn't get the feeling I got reading Freakanomics, for example, that I was seeing what goes on behind the magician's curtain. Just a set of anecdotes. Good anecdotes, mind you- but there could have been so much more...
The book starts with a section on "Viral Businesses" with an interesting first chapter about early viral businesses such as Tupperware and the illegal Ponzi scheme. The second chapter looks at the first online viral loop with Mosaic and Netscape. From thereon the history of the internet and its viral loops is biographically covered in sections called "Viral Marketing" and "Viral Networks". The books ends with a short epilogue about the viral nature of human development.
If you are interested in the internet and the businesses that are so prominent in today's web then you will enjoy the detail and insights that this book provides. The writing is clear and easy to read and there are plenty of interesting nuggets about the internet as well as the overall theme of viral networks.
It's hard to work out why some businesses do work and others don't. Whilst this book offers lots of examples that might provide some insights, and is quite inspiring for anyone trying to get their own big internet idea off the ground, I would say its of limited use to most small businesses that aren't necessarily aiming to be global internet giants one day. But if you are starting an internet business, you may find this an interesting read, if a bit limited on the practical side.
For that alone I'd recommend it to anyone interested in Internet promotion, or business in general.
Is it a how to manual? No, but it doesn't claim to be.
Read it for what it is, and if you're inspired then best of luck!
It is enlightening, and accurate, to think of early party-plan selling, like Tupperware, as a type of viral communication. The author follows the development of familiar online facilities, organisations, and networking. The background information on the development of now-famous online resources is very interesting, and the writing style has an enjoyable pace. The internet as a mass medium has only had an existence for about 15 years, and it is fascinating to retrace, and get the background information on, things we have become very well-acquainted with.
A discussion of this topic is highly relevant, for currently the internet has reached the stage of drastically challenging 'traditional' media, including newspapers and commerical television. Those media depend on advertising revenue, and if advertisers find cheaper and more effective ways to market virally online, then the traditional media may cease to exist. And in retail, consider, for example, the success, after slow beginnings, of online retailers like Amazon! Last month, Borders ceased trading in the UK, and the only remaining bookstore chain, Waterstones (owned by HMV) looks to be on shaky ground. Most independent bookstores have closed in the last decade, due to the demise of the Net Book Agreement. So it may be that retail bookstores simply die out on the UK high street, and online retailing continues to increase. It will be most interesting to see what the next year or two brings.
The book naturally focusses on developments in the USA, but for UK readers it might have been nice to have a chapter on friendsreunited, as the intial virality of that site's use, and its subsequent evolution and chges of ownership, have been highly relevant to the UK reader and connstitute an interesting social phenomenon, and an illustration of certain legal complexities.
For the most part this is a series of case studies of what the author calls viral companies - mostly internet-based businesses, but it starts with the story of Tupperware to show that the concept can, and has, worked for traditional companies albeit at a slower pace.
The style is quite straightforward, verging on the folksy at times, but very readable. After a while you feel that the stories fall into the same sort of structure: one or two people start a website for amusement or a niche activity, the userbase grows exponentially, the servers fall over with the weight of traffic, it gets fixed and gets bigger, then a few years after it all started the founders sell up for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.
Fortunately there are some exceptions, some notable failures are also covered and there are some theories about what a company needs to 'go viral' and take off. Nothing too specific of course - if the author knew how to create a website he could sell for millions in a year he wouldn't be s[pending his time writing a book instead - but nonetheless the concepts seem sound.
So the book won't make you rich, but for anybody who has used Flickr, eBay, PayPal, Ning or Facebook it puts a human face to the familiar websites, and the short history of the browser wars is a nice trip down memory lane. It wasn't that long ago really, but in internet terms it is delving into ancient history.
Certainly worth a read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is much more than a book on how viral marketing works on the internet. It's prety much a history behind the web's most popular websites. Read morePublished on 9 Jan. 2013 by Jr Lorrimer
This book is really interesting and well worth a read - I had the previous addition and wanted the updated version. The item was delivered on time.Published on 14 Sept. 2012 by customer
This is a well-researched and very readable book on the power of positive feedback loops in marketing. It contains many useful examples. Read morePublished on 23 Feb. 2012 by N. A. Fryars
This book is a much needed easy-to-read introduction to platforms and viral companies, but faces a problem: shelf life. Read morePublished on 2 Jan. 2012 by W. Page
This book gets it right in so many areas. It's well written and well-researched. It has some great case studies. What does it get wrong? Read morePublished on 24 Mar. 2011 by Arynth
I found this book very interesting. As a digital project manager I am working with the internet quite a lot and it is rare that there is a book which interests me enough on the... Read morePublished on 26 Aug. 2010 by Richard Stowey
'Viral Loop: The Power of Pass-it-on' contains a number of anecdotes which demonstrate how a campaign going viral can have a massive impact on your business. Read morePublished on 12 July 2010 by M. D. Harris
I didn't think I would be as interested as I turned out to be in the topic, but Penenberg's conversational style kept me interested all the way through. Read morePublished on 4 July 2010 by D Poisson
great for information on social media and social networks such as facebook, use it for your e-business with complete confidence, tells you how to talk up your business on google,... Read morePublished on 19 May 2010 by E. Dale