The no-morals approach to YouTube video marketing

Would you employ tactics like fake headlines, paying bloggers, and creating multiple accounts on discussion forums as part of your communication to get a video noticed on YouTube?

These are among the tips in The Secret Strategies Behind Many "Viral" Videos, a thought-provoking post on TechCrunch.

The video in this post contains my £0.1-worth of opinion. I made this video with seesmic, a startup from French entrepreneur Loic Le Meur that’s currently in private alpha testing.

The video quality of this recording isn’t that hot, so apologies for that. Maybe just close your eyes and listen to the commentary :)

Love to know what you think.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Loic

    Hi Neville, good to have news from you ! Thanks for giving Seesmic a try as you could see we are still building it and will love your feedback. One simple way to increase video quality is more light :) Otherwise, it’s like twitter don’t think too much, don’t pay too much attention to quality, the purpose is to share thoughts quickly with your friends. Being your friend I prefer seeing you often in that quality than rarely in HD quality :P

    See you soon !

  2. neville

    Thanks for stopping by, Loic! I think seesmic is terrific. This is only my second video so far. I’ll be continuing with it, that’s for sure. Advice noted re more light next time ;) And just like Twitter: absolutely.

    Dave, great post!

  3. Hans De Keulenaer

    Hi Neville: Thanks for this great videocast. As a business (or content) marketeer, I’m with you on the issue ‘is content king’. But then the rationale for my presence on the internet is communication and persuasion.

    That’s not the goal of the practices you take issue with, where traffic and hype is the only goal. As legitimate marketeers, this hurts us in several ways. Not only does it become more difficult to communicate in a market place where everybody is shouting. It also risks turning the internet into a wasteland for marketing communications. At the very least, the internet has become a tarnished brand.

    Fortunately, the internet is also a great self-regulating organism. We can ‘vote with our feet’, avoiding these practices, while speaking out against them. I’ll consider a bit more about the dos and dont’s of social media marketing.

  4. neville

    Very good points, Hans, thanks. Your last one in particular re voting with our feet.

    While it’s hard to change such behaviour practiced by others, each of us can control our own behaviour.

  5. Grant

    Oh my good lord. If this chap really wants to see the power of viral, I would suggest he (and we) just have to wait until any ‘mainstream’ press picks up on this and starts calling some of his clients to ask them about the practices they are, by association, employing…

    I mean, what do you think Nike, Oakley, 20th Century Fox, etc will do when they start receiving calls from the press about this?

    Surely posting in this way singularly identifies you as someone who *doesn’t* get it?? I am aghast…

  6. Business News and Ideas, November 26, 2007

    […] The No-Morals Approach to YouTube Video Marketing – Neville Hobson backs away from Dan Ackerman Greenberg’s provocative post that suggests gaming YouTube with multiple sock puppets is the way to get companies’ videos noticed. Ackerman Greenberg followed up with clarifications. Tamera Kremer weighs in. […]

  7. Wolfy

    Does it really matter if they trick 100k people to view a video? Fake headlines and comment flame threads are just going to piss people off I would think. Though I guess he’s doing fairly well with it. And forum crowds seem pretty savvy. Moderators like nothing better than to bust spammers posting multiple profiles.

    At the same time I find that seeding the comments can be effective when done honestly, using your real profile and thoughts.

    Still it wouldn’t be viral if it weren’t a tad malignant…


  8. BarbaraKB

    Hurray! Content is KING again. Thank you.

    This reminds me of the early days of search marketing and various types of online viral e-mail marketing tricks. Really, nothing new here: people will lie and cajole and steal to get attention on the web. Period.

    I agree, it’s horrible but it *will* be done whenever there are new ways of doing things. And, yes, these clients know something about what is being done – and that’s why they hire separate agencies to do it.

    In the end, though, content does win. BUT, is your client willing to wait that long? Some are not esp. if it’s a movie releasing this weekend! ;0

  9. Ben Bloom

    There is no question that astroturf (which is essentially the issue here) is bad news for marketers. I bet that a lot of the companies involved don’t want to know what their agencies or video producers did to make the campaign a success, but they are glad it worked.

    It’s not “Manufacturing Consent”…but it’s not right, either. The thing is, so much of what is seen by a mass audience (say, 100,000 people) is related to SEO-without it, it is possible no one will see your content. What rational marketer would risk that? A transparent one, perhaps. A smart one, definitely.

  10. neville

    Grant, call me cynical, but I bet some of those companies know full well what goes on. Maybe that’s the most alarming part about all this.

    Wolfy: “when done honestly” is precisely the point.

    BarbaraKB, unfortunately I have to agree with you that some people will do the dishonorable thing.

    Ben, it’s time for those companies to wake up.

Comments are closed.