Viral Loop – A Review

As an artist always reaching for exposure, I’m always interested in how others are making the web work for them. So I was excited to read Viral Loop by Adam Pennenberg.

The Viral Loop is a collection of case studies of companies that rocketed to the top using viral loops as promotion. Everything from Tupperware to Hotmail to Facebook. Viral loops are easy enough to understand. The created products that aren’t much good unless your friends are doing it too. So you spread the word.

And a lot of the company backgrounds are interesting. There’s a lot of background intrigue covered here, but mostly stuff you can find in other books. It makes a good primer for each company’s story though.

The problem I see is that most of the companies profiled are reaching a maturation stage. And the things they didn’t to kick start their virality won’t work as well now. Like RockYou posted six times on MySpace and took off from their with thousands and millions signing up for their service. Not exactly something that will work these days.

He does go into the new ad unit of “time” rather than clicks and that’s very interesting. I would have liked to have seen profiles on some up and coming companies and what they’re doing right now to grow their business. There’s a few profiles of companies that didn’t work out, like Bebo. But I really wanted to see what didn’t work about businesses that didn’t make it. That’s way more educational than “Omidyar publicized AuctionWeb (Ebay) on Usenet groups and what’s-new sections of websites.”

This book is not a waste of time, but not all it could be either.

Phil Johnson

PS… I’m all viral too.  Go get your free downloads and and then cough on all your friends and spread it to them too. 🙂

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