The Akinator And Other Viral Poo

Hey there,

a couple of things that are fun, useful, or both:

A fun toy (or: Viral Poo)

Check out

It’s a fun little artificial intelligence program where it asks you questions and guesses public figures based on your answers.

Apart from being addictive (the only one it didn’t get so far is Kevin Spacey…), there’s also a useful marketing lesson in there:

it’s one of those insanely viral things, that explode over night, you play with it, and then…

… well, get on with your life.

And the akinator will have made very little money in the process.

Ok, it depends on your definition of “very little”, but even if they sell a few ten-thousand apps at $1.99 each, it hardly goes towards “building a real business”.

So, these guys who have got a seriously good toy there, and it has gone viral for the very reason that it is so good, will make a little money.

So, when you look at all those gurus that tell you to cash in on ‘viral’ traffic (ideally by putting out ‘engaging’ memes (square(ish) images that are fun or controversial), my question is:

how the heck do you ever hope to monetize that in a serious way?

First of all you’re relying on luck (the Akinator is viral by design, “Gangnam style” has viral potential by design, … most meme’s are, well …), and secondly there’s hardly ever the question how you’re providing VALUE to the consumers of that viral piece.

Incidentally, there’s something even worse going on with most viral poo:

the consumers don’t give a damn who YOU are, they just want the fun or controversy.

Which usually results in YOU making even less money.

If you decide that viral is the way forward, make sure it’s by DESIGN!

And by DESIGN I mean: it has a high chance of going viral because it was designed that way, and – even more importantly – it’s designed to help you achieve your business goals!

The New Virus: Pyramid Coaching Schemes

I don’t know about you, but my inbox has been littered with ‘coaching offers’ beginning of the year, and they’re spreading like a bad cold…

And the vast majority of them I’d categorize as nothing better than pyramid schemes:

“Hey, look at me, I’m making tons of money … selling informati0n on how to make tons of money by selling information on how to make tons of money …. to unsuspecting prospects like you”.

The usual format is like this:

  1. Step 1: The “Ghetto” Video: “hey, I just shot this ‘ghetto’ video …”: showing you that I no longer work in the office. Isn’t that what YOU want?
  2. Step 2: The Webinar with a Twist. “hey, I’ll be up-front, I’ve got an offer at the end that will appeal to very few, so don’t worry, just consume the great content”. (heavy duty use of sales-psychology)
  3. Step 3: The Webinar-content: “hey, people out there want information, you can provide information, and you can make lots of money doing it.”
  4. Step 4: The FPSSDPJ (fookin’ Pyramid-scheming Self-delusional Price Justification): “hey, I’m making tons of money selling information (see the intro to this section…), so I’m super-qualified to sell you information on how to do exactly what I’m doing”
  5. Step 5: The Pyramid: you’re now $5k down, and facing the task of finding other unsuspecting prospects who’ll hand over $5k because, well, it’s so easy to sell information online, and somehow get to the J of FPSSDPJ for spending $5k…

Don’t get me wrong:

coaching and mentoring is in my opinion THE #1 fastest way to achieve your goals. Leverage the experience, knowledge, connections and insights of those who have gone before you.

But make sure they’ve actually GONE before you, and not just picked up a nice new model for marketing information on how to do the stuff they haven’t actually ever done themselves!

In case you’re tempted (and tempted you should be, because in most cases they’re using heavy-duty sales-psychology, some of it very slick!), ask these 2 questions:

  1. do you (dear guru) make any money outside the realm of pyramids?
  2. what is the realistic ROI of this ‘investment’

Regarding the 2nd question:

if your objective is to sell information in the Internet Marketing space, ouch.

if the objective is to build an empire of adsense sites, publish tons of Kindle books or drive traffic to Amazon for pittance, then ouch.

if the objective is to do some viral poo, … well, you get the drift.

In other words: if the coaching offer doesn’t explicitly demonstrate how this is going to create massive value in the market-place, it’s probably really only well-sold pyramid-powder (which is the ancient Egyptian term for snake-oil…)


The 5 Marketing Lessons That Turned Into 10

In my recent marketing lessons post, the 5 original lessons turned into at least a handful more! Which I guess qualifies this for the ‘viral growth of marketing lessons’;-)

So, thank-you for the great feedback!

One of the biggest one that most people missed was that of asking for permission! Ideally as part of a “commitment and consistency” campaign.

It’s something that was first (to my knowledge) covered by Seth Godin more than 10 years ago in his book “Permission Marketing” and today it’s probably even more important than it was then.

Incidentally, “Permission Marketing” is Vol 2 of my monthly “Guru Cloner Series” which will go up in price significantly from Feb 2013. So if you want to get all that marketing wisdom condensed into a few short pages, now might be a great time to sign up!

If you follow the general “chatter” in the forums, and the leading Internet marketing blogs and sites, you’ll see that just like Google, we’ve now reached the point where we have too much content (it appears everyone is jumping on the ‘content’-wagon, some are even taking the ‘quality-content’-express…) … and Permission Marketing is going to play a HUGE role in getting people to consume YOUR content!


The Dr-BJ-V

As we’re on viruses today, I’ll leave you with a funny choice of domain name (the exact domain shall remain anonymous;-).

It’s the JV-page for someone who calls himself DrB(…), so his domain name reads like this ….drbjv….

Mhmm….. maybe it’s because my 8 year old son surprised us at breakfast with the question what condoms were for!?

We’ve got the feeling that he’s slightly worried that you have to wear them forever, as his main concern was how you pee when you have a condom….).

I had the pleasure of explaining the whole condom story in very child-friendly terms, as my 6 year old daughter was also present (and my wife was hiding in the fridge whilst I was trying to keep a straight face)

hasta luego




  1. OK Veit – pretty good stuff and the last story is funny and cute at the same time. Love being a parent. I have also noticed lots of folks offering coaching – which I think is the nature of IM, modeling what others are doing – lemmings perhaps? Now, actually, this tendency has probably caused a few good marketers to offer coaching, so I don’t think its all bad, but as a business model it is not sustainable.

    Thank you for your excellent reviews and advice.

  2. Awesome as always, love your stuff. I am having my youngest son, 9, contact you. He was asking me how he can have half Cuban blood in him if he was in his Mom’s tummy and never mine? SEO, social marketing, business management, and child puberty management… You teach it all.

  3. Veit, in reality TOO much of IM consists of people who teach other people how to make money by showing other people how to make money…

    One has to have a very keen eye to spot the difference sometimes, between those who are offering info on how to build an internet business, vs those who are pretending to make a ton of money on the internet so they can sell money-making info to others who want to make money.

    Of course some have gotten kicked off the WF recently for showing false images of their income statements…

    So it’s always something we have to watch out for. Personally I am quite sure at least 90% or WSO’s are b.s. and I’m sure I’ve fallen victim to b.s. wso’s as have most others. Sometimes the b.s. comes from people who are well respected and know better (Hello C.M.)… but I guess they are too tempted by the “easy money” they can get by selling a crap WSO.

    You wrote “if the objective is to build an empire of adsense sites, publish tons of Kindle books or drive traffic to Amazon for pittance, then ouch.”

    Does this mean you believe one cannot make money with adsense, amazon and kindle? I’m not sure I understand your point here.

    • Hey there,

      can you make money with Adsense, Kindle, Amazon etc?


      BUT (that’s an all upper-case BUT):

      a) if you follow the herd (“common” IM teachings, which are in most cases as you point out rubbish anyway), then you’re building someone else’s business (namely Amazon, Google, …) rather than your own. You hardly ever end up with a real business ASSET! By all means, use Kindle, Amazon, iTunes etc to generate leads for YOUR business, but don’t use them as a “money making opportunity”

      b) if you use them as a “money making opportunity”, you usually have to have quite a few of them. In other words: EMPIRES of little sites. And the vast majority of people get overwhelmed by having to deal with an EMPIRE of small sites (I’ve gone through this in detail in one of my SEO trainings, but the gist is this: if you just slap up a quick site (because you’re pressed for time due to having to slap up tons of sites), then you’ll never end up fully testing, tweaking and optimizing your sites. And underperforming sites tend to, well, underperform, and make very little money. You’re much better off focusing on ONE site!



  4. Veit, your posts are like wind blowing away the smoke so you can see the correct path in front of you. Thank You.


  5. So, the whole IM crowd follows some of the gurus with one year lag. The IM coaching pyramid will collapse the same as any other fads in IM.
    But as IM is a rotating launch business (at least for the big boys there) – fads will be recycled over and over again, to rip the new entrants of this market of their remaining cash.

    I hope the Salty Droid, AntoWarrior and others keep a lot of noobs out there from buying snake oil from people who just sell plain BS.

    Veit – you are one of the few who only sell lessons from real life experience – and with a very modern marketing philosophy.

    Cheers, Alex

Speak Your Mind


Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy