Staying on the Edge

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It's interesting to see that The Wall Street Journal started hyping a topic this week that industry publications have been covering for months: viral marketing. According to the Journal, it's "the latest hot Internet strategy." It used to be that something wasn't "it" until the Journal or The New York Times said it was, but those publications now take too long to react in today's Net time.

The Journal also uses that infamous shampoo commercial to describe viral marketing: "If you get a friend to tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on" (would someone please e-mail me at with the name of that shampoo; comments in the newsroom are ranging from Prell to Alberto VO5).

The concept of viral marketing first reared its head on the Internet, according to a story in last week's Industry Standard, with online greeting-card company, which became one of the top traffic sites on the Web through no PR or advertising campaign - just word of mouth. But the Journal piece brings up an issue: While that publication is just now telling the masses viral marketing is the newest trend, we're searching out "the next big thing." Not that viral marketing has run its course yet, because DM News reports on the concept again this week in a deal (search keyword "viral marketing") between and United Media Syndicate to use the comic strip Dilbert for a viral marketing effort.

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