December 13, 2006

Cockpunch the chumps

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200418420-001.jpgIn a very welcome venting session a la 'dropkick the punks', my friend alphamonkey over at the Transbuddha/DHADM blog clique calls out clueless 'viral marketers' in what can only be described as a "Cockpunch the Chumps" manifesto.

"We [bloggers] willfully and happily render ourselves crappy content meat shields so that our readers don’t have to wade through the infinite trench of crap that runs through the heart of this here intraweb. Our success is as dependent on our ability to provide background and context as it is to find that perfect football to daddy’s crotch video. Because of that, we won’t just post a viral site because an heretofore anonymous person sent us an e-mail telling us to. That’d make us chumps, you see? We’ll post it because we can provide a reason to visit. We’ll post it because our ability to be in the know (and by proxy let the reader know) makes or breaks us.

So in essence: Don’t treat site editors and bloggers like they’re dumb, and we won’t immediately consign your e-mails to our ever increasingly vigilant spam filters. If you (and your client) think your site is mierda caliente, then have enough faith in it to provide us the details we want. Who built the site? Who is running the campaign? What other campaigns go with it? That information won’t tank a campaign, I promise.

Admittedly being involved in viral marketing, I do whole-heartedly agree with alphamonkey. Just like a few companies have slowly done, viral marketers will eventually need to come out of their shells and be willing to be more transparent. It is possible to maintain a balance between company confidentiality and transparency (because I do realize that viral marketers often need to represent and give credit to the client and not the ad agency). If anything, it is a viral marketers job to be the one to direct a viral campaign and insist on transparency. If not, the viral marketer is potentially single-handedly ruining their client's image to a very large community.

My addition to the call-out would be, don't be a one-off. Viral marketing isn't about hitting as many people as you can, that's what TV is for. Viral marketing should be about building relationships over time - if the content is good, then it will speak for itself. For this reason, I have taken a liking my personal suggestion of a more appropriate title: Purveyor of Cool Shit.

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