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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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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.
". . . 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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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).Read more ›
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.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I always enjoy reading Seth's work. Just as he said, he puts the obvious on paper. This gives us an a-ha moment and great insight into having a big impact in an over saturated,... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Paul Z
As most of his work, it's great, insightful, and a must-read. So crazy how much insight this guy had 10+ years ago. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Luis Vazquez
Well, maybe you can, but not in this book. He is on to something important if you want to brand and market products in today's world. Read morePublished on May 19, 2014 by JayByrd
I think Seth Is a brilliant Marketer and Thinker. I Always enjoy his concepts on topics such as marketing and customer acquisition. Read morePublished on March 18, 2014 by Deon
Not a book that I would purchase again. A lot of info outdated. Maybe there is a more up to date book nowPublished on December 26, 2013 by Marlene Moore