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Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You. Paperback – October 10, 2001

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Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You. + Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable--Includes new bonus chapter + Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (October 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786887176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786887170
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Treat a product or service like a human or computer virus, contends online promotion specialist Seth Godin, and it just might become one. In Unleashing the Ideavirus, Godin describes ways to set any viable commercial concept loose among those who are most likely to catch it--and then stand aside as these recipients become infected and pass it on to others who might do the same. "The future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other," he writes. "Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk."

Godin believes that a solid idea is the best route to success in the new century, but one "that just sits there is worthless." Through the magic of "word of mouse," however, the Internet offers a unique opportunity for interested individuals to transmit ideas quickly and easily to others of like mind. Taking up where his previous book Permission Marketing left off, Godin explains in great detail how ideaviruses have been launched by companies such as Napster, Blue Mountain Arts, GeoCities, and Hotmail. He also describes "sneezers" (influential people who spread them), "hives" (populations most willing to receive them), and "smoothness" (the ease with which sneezers can transmit them throughout a hive). In all, an infectious and highly recommended read. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


". . . Unleashing the IdeaVirus informs, instructs, and entertains, offering the reader both roadmap and owner's manual for the car." -- Chris Meyer, director, Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation, and co-author of Blur

". . . whatever Seth is selling is catching -- and if you spend time with him, you'll come down with it." -- Alan M. Webber, founding editor, Fast Company

"Seth not only gets it, he gives it as well. Unleashing the Ideavirus is living, livid, vivid proof." -- Doc Searls, author, The Cluetrain Manifesto

"This is the only (idea)virus that will save you time and make you money." -- Guy Kawasaki, CEO, garage.com, and author, Rules for Revolutionaries

More About the Author

Seth Godin is the author of eighteen international bestsellers that have been translated into over 35 languages, and have changed the way people think about marketing and work. For a long time, Unleashing the Ideavirus was the most popular ebook ever published, and Purple Cow is the bestselling marketing book of the decade.

His book, Tribes, was a nationwide bestseller, appearing on the Amazon, New York Times, BusinessWeek and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. It's about the most powerful form of marketing--leadership--and how anyone can now become a leader, creating movements that matter.

His book Linchpin came out in 2008 and was the fastest selling book of his career. Linchpin challenges you to stand up, do work that matters and race to the top instead of the bottom. More than that, though, the book outlines a massive change in our economy, a fundamental shift in what it means to have a job.

Since Linchpin, Godin has published two more books, Poke the Box and We Are All Weird, through his Domino Project. He followed these with The Icarus Deception via Kickstarter, which reached its goal in less than three hours. Joined by Watcha Gonna Do With That Duck and V is for Vulnerable, those books are now widely available. In late 2014, he announced his latest, What To Do When It's Your Turn, sold directly from his website.

In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth was founder and CEO of Squidoo.com,. His blog (find it by typing "seth" into Google) is the most popular marketing blog in the world. Before his work as a writer and blogger, Godin was Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, a job he got after selling them his pioneering 1990s online startup, Yoyodyne.

You can find every single possible detail that anyone could ever want to know at sethgodin.com

Customer Reviews

This book is well written and an easy read.
Mark Dyer
I first started reading the book when it came out and put it back down after about 60 pages.
In Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin says your idea is contagious, like the flu.
Rolf Dobelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 194 people found the following review helpful By William Davenport on October 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
First I like Seth Godin. He's now gotten my money for three books. The first two were money fairly well spent, the thrid one, Unleashing the Ideavirus, well . . .
I found the book to be full of ideas that had a virus.
For example, on page 29, under the heading "Seven Ways An Ideavirus Can Help You" #6 says, When the demo recording you made becomes a best seller on MP3.com and you get a call from Sony, who wants to give you a recording contract.
Poor sentence construction aside, how hard did Seth have to work was that to think up that idea?
Back up to page 27 and you'll find six "key steps for Internet companies looking to build a virus". #2 says, Have the idea behind your online experience go viral, bring you a large chunk of the group you're targeting without haveing to spend a fortune advertising the new service.
Now that's a revelation. It's kind of like the joke, "Do you want to know the easiest way to become a millionaire? First, get a million dollars."
On page 141 we're counseled, "One of the best ways to facilitate adoption of your ideavirus is to find a bestseller list that makes sense and then dominate it."
Further down we're given insight into some not so novel ways of how to stuff the ballot box. How do you artificially boost the bestseller status of files for download on the Web? Download the file over and over again, increasing the counter of how often it has been downloaded.
Want to launch a new liquor? Pay the bar to post a bestselling drinks list. "Now, bribe enough folks to go in and buy themselves a drink."
While this may not be the most ethical advice it's certainly not new. Ask the folks at Heineken how they got to be the number one beer import way back in the 50's.
The book of course has some high points and it is a fun read at times but don't look for any breakthrough ideas here or else you just might get sick.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Dale A. Brill on October 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Hats off to the author for practicing what he preaches. "Free" was exactly what I needed to engage in this virtual buy-in. I regret that I just couldn't buy the concepts.
I'll limit my criticism to three issues. First, I can only conclude from the author's logic that every successful product/service is an ideavirus. On page 36 he introduces the OXO brand vegetable peeler as an ideavirus. Others include Polaroid brand instant cameras, Carmine's Restaurant, Beanie Babies, Moser Furniture and Tommy Hilfiger. If it's popular and a lot of people want it-which of course makes folks talk about it-you've got yourself an ideavirus. According to the author, the difference between this and word-of-mouth promotion is (1) the transmission medium and (2) the duration. He says, "...word of mouth tends to spread slower, be more analog....word of mouth dies off" (p. 31). These differences seem arbitrary--at least underdeveloped--however true to the pervasive obsession with things digital. The entire book would be easier to handle if the author didn't try to apply the concepts to every ostensibly successful venture.
Second, wholesale advertising bashing, which can be found in "Permission Marketing," appears again. The lockstep mantra equating marketing with advertising is unfortunate. The author's exuberance served as an early-and unnecessary-inoculation to the ideavirus.
Third, while the author never pretends that the foundational concepts upon which he draws are his original ideas, my academic training makes it difficult to quietly accept the lack of attention to the original authors and works from which this "manifesto" is really created. Godin defines a manifesto as "a powerful, logical `essay' that assembles a bunch of existing ideas and creates a new one" (page 13).
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am not sure what book others read, but this book was aweful. It is unfortunate because the concept is interesting. The execution, however, is best described as a literary train wreck.
Afer reviewing this book and looking at these reviews, I think that the author/publisher, applied some of the concepts in the book to mis-lead people looking for real reviews.
One of the concepts discussed in the book is to pay people to spead your idea/virus, so that others will become interested, purchase your product. There is clearly a disconnect between many of these reviews and the actual execution of the book itself. In fact, I have never seen such a huge disconnect. I find it difficult to believe that it is only a matter of a difference of opinion based on my experiences with other reviews.
Not only is it poorly organized, but the information presented as fact is sometimes clearly wrong (referencing the Prius example used in the book) and recommendations are taken out of context. Proposing solutions without framing them in real-world business context (that is factually accurate) is worthless. Answers work ONLY in the context in which they are applied.
I would strongly recommend that you don't buy this book or waste the time to read it. Far better books are on the market dealing with marketing solutions.
(This is my first review. I decided to write it to counter some of the oddly positive reviews written by others. If you read these reviews, you will have a better understanding of what the author is trying to say. Some of the reviewers have completed a better, more efficient explanation of the concept in less than 1000 words than the author could do in an entire book.)
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