Friday, August 22, 2008

YouTube Top Spot

The crowning achievement of any viral marketing, advertising or internet based video campaign is it's total number of views. Obviously this isn't very different from tv or movies, but with the internet everything is very, very trackable. For some time now, the incredible “Evolution of Dance” video has held the top spot as the most watched video ever on YouTube. Produced by Judson Laipply, it is a 6 minute video in which Laipply performs a dance routine through cuts of 35 songs. Through a blend of dance, humor and physical effort, we are given something completely original and innovative.

Sitting in second place for a long time has been Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend video. It's not very original or innovative but it is quite provocative, and anything featuring a dressed down teenage girl is, unfortunately, going to do well on the internet. The videos initial viewing figures on YouTube quickly soared to 50 million+ views.

So what? I hear you ask. Well fans of Lavigne launched there own unofficial campaign to propel the singer to the top. Currently, it has 97,462,978 compared to Laipply’s 96,188,641. But how? created a way to “cheat” the YouTube system by refreshing the video every 15 seconds. Fans who opened her video would be able to “viewing” it over 5,000 times per day.

Unsurprisingly many major online publications picked up on this and started pointing the finger. What no one seemed to be aware of, was that YouTube caps views per IP to 200 per day. So the "cheat" couldn't have done it, not by itself. AvrilBandAids real goal wasn’t actually to cheat at all. Instead they allowed their "cheating" to slip into the public domain and the viral effect kicked in.

In other words, they used the reporting of the cheating to do the cheating for them. The publicity was enough to push it closer to 100,000,000 and passed the champ.

Interestingly, all postings of Lavigne's Girlfriend video on YouTube have now had their embedding code disabled.

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