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March 11, 2007

Viral Marketing… we all get sick.

In this world of viral marketing, you’re going to see a lot of stuff get blown way out of proportion in the blogosphere. You see we’ve become accustomed to gathering the daily events and news footage for our ADHD lives from sources written by blokes like me and the next website you’ll be visiting shortly after you read this.

Okay, case in point. Lenovo needed to drum up some nifty good press when it took over IBM’s ThinkPad line of laptops. The general public was afraid of what the Chinese company was going to do with their beloved Big Iron laptops.

So they came out with these really slick, computer generated commercials touting a fictitious test lab and new technology. It really was great commercial fodder, it didn’t annoy the viewer or tout the latest model or price slashing.

These commercials ran for a limited time in early 2006. Shortly after they were picked up, recorded, and sent to YouTube for everyone to link to and gawk at…

If you’re new to YouTube, you’ll see many of the same videos – posted by different people hoping to get good ratings and feedback by posting something popular. And it just so happens that these Lenovo marketing videos were posted again – just for fun.

But wait, there’s more!

Well, that would have all there is to this story… but that would have been a boring post, so there’s more.

Today, what must have been a slow news day for gadget blog TecheBlog, posted a story about how they got some secret footage and they’re “breaking the story” about this new technology from Lenovo’s research lab…

Someone acquired these tapes from an “acquaintance” — showing test footage from Lenovo’s research facility. They include a holographic, armored, and hovering laptop. Fun to watch, but purely concepts, nice job Lenovo.

And more:

“When my acquaintance watched the tapes back, he found some footage that he just had to get it out into the public domain. I’ve watched the material myself and I’ve got to agree with him – it’s pretty amazing stuff.”

And that’s not all… if you act now – you’ll get your blog posted on Digg!

http://www.digg.com/hardware/Laptops_of_the_Future

Someone went and submitted this story to Digg.com, a “news” site (notice the quotes, that’s very important) that gives users the power to promote or demote stories that interest them by ‘digging’ the story. It’s a great concept and a site I visit often, but wrought with abuses and falsely promoted stories by groups of people. A recent story in Wired even describes how you can pay to promote your story on Digg.

With literally tens of thousands of users hitting your site (and your ads) – it’s a good thing to have a story hit Digg’s front page.

But this is just a prime example how you can get millions of dollars of free advertising by using a few select ads in that capture the attention of some bloggers. It’s viral, and it’s on the internet, and it’s going to spread for a very long time. Use common sense and wash your hands often.

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