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Comedians Stumble Upon Viral Marketing Concept

"Viral Marketing" is the latest buzzword for the oldest form of
promotion in the world... "Referral" or "Word of Mouth."

With a click of the "SEND" button, Internet e-mail enables people
to quickly and easily refer things to their friends and families.
These e-mail messages often spread rapidly through the Internet and
to the far-reaching corners of the world.

Many smart marketers have learned to harness the power of viral
marketing with "eBooks," the Internet's digital equivalent of the
paper book. Two stand-up comedians from San Diego, California say
they were surprised when they accidentally discovered this powerful
phenomenon.

Steve Roye and Paul Stoecklein were trying to think of ways to
Promote their new web site (killerstandup.com) when one simple
idea caused an unexpected result.

"At first, we didn't know what we had," says Roye. "And when it
finally dawned on us, we were shocked to discover that nobody else
was doing it."

VIRAL MARKETING STRATEGY:

The idea is very simple. Roye and Stoecklein created a second
Website called FreeJokeBooks.com http://www.freejokebooks.com/

FreeJokeBooks.com offers free downloadable joke books and humorous
tales in the form of executable files. Created with the help of a
compiler, the eBooks look like individual web sites. These eBooks
circulate via email and feed traffic back to both web sites through
hyperlinks.

"The embarrassing thing is," said Stoecklein, "I didn't really
consider the email part of it at first. I just thought of the books
as freebies to give people and hope they might come back to one of
the sites. End of story. I really

didn't consider the viral effect
these things are having."

Although the idea seems painfully simple, it appears to be
uncharted territory. Many people circulate jokes over the Internet
as a marketing tool, and many people circulate eBooks, but nobody
seems to be circulating joke eBooks - until now. Stoecklein says
that their eBooks take advantage of the massive appeal of humor,
but he stresses that the hyperlinks in their books are not deleted
by readers like they are in regular email jokes. Therefore, the
potential for subsequent web site traffic is much greater.

RESULTS:

Roye and Stoecklein launched freejokebooks.com on March 3, 2001 by
sending one of their eBooks to just a handful of friends and family
members. Within days, they had recorded over 30,000 hits from
several countries all over the world.

"We hardly did anything!" says Roye. "Within hours, we had people
in Finland reading our books. I don't know about you, but I don't
know anybody in Finland... Fresno yes, Finland no."

While the forecast may look good for freejokebooks.com, the two
comedians admit that everything is far from perfect and that they
are continuously perfecting the concept.

"We're learning as we go," Roye says. "We're comedians, not
Internet experts. Our biggest flaw is that we often ignore the
rules." And what is their biggest strength?

"We often ignore the rules," he smiles.


About the Author

Matt Hockin - Interactive Marketing, Inc. matthockin@home.com
For information about the best viral marketing resources
and techniques available on the Internet, send e-mail to:
mailto:matthockin@home.com?&subject=Send%20Viral%20Marketing%20Info


Written by: Matt Hockin

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