Getting videos viewed: When is a viral truly viral?

I’ve been doing a fair bit of thinking about the above question over the past few days. What makes something viral, what makes it spread, and what makes it “popular”? As someone commented in a previous post,

They don’t need to brand it per say because everyone is writing about it. Don’t pay attention to the number of views exclusively, but take a closer look at the number of times it’s been written about… that’s clever..

Let the internet community brand your videos for you…

Sure, the internet community is essentially branding videos, but at the same time, video view optimizers like Feed Co. are doing the branding and viral marketing for the agency. When Cutwater hired Feed Co. to spread their video, it worked beautifully. The same message is being posted across blogs, linking back to the YouTube spot.

feed.jpg

Does that make it truly viral? how many people are actually actively spreading it? What proportion of the YouTube hits are generated by the links posted by Feed Co.? Who gets the credit for the “viral”? Cutwater made the decision to hire Feed Co. – so is the viral success truly attributed Cutwater? What about other agencies that don’t use a video view optimizer? Is it becoming the norm?

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