“Secrets of Viral Video Marketing” at Yahoo! Conference

Your Uncle Nalts will be talking about viral video and marketing at the Yahoo! “Big Screen, Little Screen” event July 9 in Toronto, Canada. My topic is “The Secrets of Viral Video Marketing.” The funny part is that I was a late edition because Dan Ackerman Greenberg couldn’t make it.

Seriously. I couldn’t make something like that up. In case you don’t recognize the name, he’s the guy who wrote the TechCrunch article about how marketers can “game” YouTube with fake thumbnails, fake comments, et cetera. This blog called him the Wicked Witch of the West to my Glenda the Good Witch, and that’s something you don’t soon forget.

Dan- do you want me to renew the URL I parked (www.viralvideovillain.com) pointing to your LinkedIn page?

P.S. Y’all like the new masthead designed by The Most Excellent Gage Skidmore? He’s with Cosmic Flight.


Sales of My Free eBook Skyrocket Due to TechCrunch Coverage

Nalts on TechCrunchWell, you loyal WillVideoForFood.com readers, please reserve your front row seats, because the auditorium may be filling with some TechCrunch visitors. They actually crunched about my eBook. Here’s my original post about the book, titled “How to Become Popular on YouTube (Without Any Talent).” Here’s my video reaction to the coverage.

Or maybe TechCrunch didn’t write about me, and it’s a weird dream. I’m kinda sleep deprived. But if it’s a dream, then so is this post. So at least I’m not at risk of embarrassing myself by claiming something that… never mind.

Sales of my free eBook have tripled almost instantly. Naturally I promised TechCrunch a return link, because you know how desperate they are for inbound links. Mike Arrington’s always e-mailing me with this “can’t pass reciprocal link deal,” and I’m like… “find your own audience, dude.”

So if you have popped by for the standard 8-second “do I care about this site?” determination, take off your shoes, subscribe and stay a while. I’m Nalts. These are the other people reading this blog. They’re a little more quiet than me, but they’re here alright.

We cover online video trends, personalities and websites. We tracks interesting “viral video” case studies. And we reviews how marketers and agencies can leverage this visceral new online-video medium to engage people relevantly and promote their brands. Oh, and we occasionally self promote ourself. But at least we’re transparent, right? We don’t usually use the “royal” we, but we’re sleep deprived, remember?

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“How to Become Popular on YouTube (Without Any Talent)” – A Free eBook

YouTube Popularity bookThank you, dear readers, for your help finalizing this version 1.5 of “How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent.” Honestly, if I look at this document another moment I’m going to boot. If you’re looking for my real book, “Beyond Viral,” published by Wiley & Sons in 2010, please click here.

(Warning- clicking the image to the right will cause you to download the book, which is annoying but probably what most people expect).

This post marks the official release of the book. You can download it (for free) by clicking this link, which will open the 30-page PDF: “How to Become Popular on YouTube (Without Any Talent), version 1.5” by Kevin Nalts, WillVideoForFood.com. If you post the PDF on your own blog or website, please keep that title, and my name and URL. You might want to list this post’s permalink, since it will point to future downloadable versions.

While you’re waiting for Adobe to open (insert “car rusting” joke here), I hope you’ll RSS this blog so we can keep each other current. If you’re a YouTuber and haven’t subscribed to my videos, visit YouTube.com/Nalts, then select the orange button labled “subscribe.” Okay- enough self promotion for one day. I’m going to take a nap.

Here’s the book on Skribd for easy access.

Here’s a free 2-page synopsis of my book, “The Prophet of Online Video.” If you want to use this outline and write your own book, go ahead. I’m so not writing for a while.

Sneak Preview: “How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent” (Free eBook)


On Friday I’m releasing a free eBook titled “How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent.” I won’t make any money for each copy downloaded, but I’ll make it up in volume.

Below is a draft that still needs some fine tuning, but I’d appreciate some feedback from some of you core WVFF readers. Here it is as a PDF (version 1.3, which includes some of  your edits on 01/03/08): How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent

If you’re a blogger, I know I can’t stop you from posting this, but it would be great if you could wait until the Friday (January 4). Unless you’re some big-ass blog like TechCrunch. Then you can do whatever the heck you want. The several days I spent on this would be time well spent if it resulted in an inbound link from a big ass blog (BAB). Up until now, TechCrunch has only given the black-hatted viral marketers a spotlight. 😉

That said, I’m kinda hoping to “soft launch” it to the WillVideoForFood regulars before it’s officially released. I’m somewhat anxious about releasing something via pdf, and knowing I don’t have the ability to fix some horrible mistake that’s bound to be lurking within.


PS Here’s a synopsis of my forthcoming “The Prophet (Profit) of Online Video: Book synopsis,” which is being written to help marketers, agencies and creators capitalize on the growing field of online video.

Top Ten Stupidest Moments of Online Video in 2007

It’s time for the first annual WillVideoforFood.com’s Top 10 Stupidest Moments of Online Video in 2007. This list is my first draft, so I invite and encourage moments I’ve no doubt missed.

I haven’t kept a notepad besides my bed all year, and I try to suppress these moments. That said, I did review hundreds of blog entries and perform countless Google searches to compile this starter list. Feel free to use all or parts of this post on your blog or website- link appreciated.

  1. Chris Crocker becomes a viral sensation after this weeping video defending Britney Spears. It gets 13 million views, but Crocker fails to post another video in the three months since. Lesson: It’s not the one-hit wonder, it’s about consistency. To his credit, he’s another video amateur that is “working on a TV show,” he’s been spotted at Social, and he did make Time Magazine’s top 10 list of viral videos.
  2. YouAre.tv gives up, and embarrasses itself while trying to hype its own auction (with a paltry 2,000 visitors per day) on eBay. To add insult to injury, it sends an “exclusive” report to New Tee Vee, but accidentally sends it to The Silicon Valley Insider (who promptly publishes the entire desperate e-mail from You Are Media CEO David K. Dundas). Lesson: Don’t start another video site, and check e-mail when you leak exclusives.
  3. top 10 stupid moments of online videoSneeeer: Techcrunch publishes “The Secret Strategies Behind Many Viral Videos,” which leads to a dramatic backlash among online-video enthusiasts, bloggers and the video community. I parked “ViralVideoVillain.com” for TechCrunch contributing author Michael Ackerman Greenberg. TechCrunch does a “follow up.” Lesson: There are appropriate ways to market your videos, and cheats don’t need a soap box.
  4. Oprah makes her debut on YouTube by taking over the homepage with online-video clichés (dog on skateboard, cats doing tricks), then creating a YouTube channel that looks more like a network PR site. Lesson: Too many for this post. See previous post about what Oprah might have learned.
  5. JewTube launches in the summer, and Google later challenges the name (based on copyright infringement of YouTube). Lesson: Niche sites are smart. But build your own brand.
  6. The Daily Reel dies after morphing from “Entertainment Weekly for online video” to a video podcast series to a video-hosting site to a video-enthusiast community site to a site thats’ now frozen in time like some parts of New Orleans years after Katrina. Lesson: Pick a core competency and stick with it.
  7. ZeFrank killed his popular online-video show in March, just as his fame was developing. He quietly returned to blip.tv recently, but not on his ZeFrank “The Show” page. NewTeeVee writer Chris Albrecht called his return video “anemic” with a “spark missing.” There were rumors of a television deal, and blip.tv issued this press release when he closed The Show. We won’t comment, as we have a documented history of being jealous of ZeFrank (as “caught on tape” with this Dove Evolution parody). Lesson: Stick with what you do well. And I’m not saying there’s a “Famous Amos” thing happening here, but why else wouldn’t ZeFrank populate his show page in addition to blip.tv?
  8. The New York Times calls YouTube “celebrities” hot property. Umm… I’m kinda a big deal on YouTube, but someone show me how the YouTube thing has changed more than a couple lives. Lesson: The “overnight” success of online-video amateurs is a bit exaggerated.
  9. Experts project that television advertising budgets will pour online. Experts project 3/4 of a billion dollars in online video for 2007. Even so, that’s a small portion of the 3-8 billion expected to go into online advertising in total this year. No word yet as to how the year’s shaping up (but eMarketers upped its estimate in August). I didn’t get my share of 3/4 billion, though. Did you? Lesson: Take advertising projections and divide by 10.
  10. Viacom demands YouTube remove all of its content and tries to build an “old media consortium” to compete with YouTube (Viacom, News Corp and NBC ). Writers who are on strike find this move, in hindsight, quite ironic (see recent video by Daily Show writers). Naturally, media executives come to Viacom’s defense. Lesson: as I mentioned in March, that old “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” consortium thing never quite works out (see ComScore reports of online-video share). Still, you can’t blame someone from crying fowl about having their stuff stolen and monetized by someone else online. Unless they’re a writer, of course.

Even My Boss Knew About This Video

It’s not often my boss mentions YouTube, and I usually try to avoid eye contact when he does. But at today’s staff meeting he mentioned that a friend from a former employer had a YouTube video called “Here Comes Another Bubble” by The Richter Scales. It’s a wonderful satire on the absurdity of web 2.0 which, indeed, begs for another bubble burst. It’s done to the music of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

No sooner had I forgotten about his Bubble video did I discover that it trumped me on the “highest rated video of the day on YouTube. And I had actually done a storyboard for my “iPod Angel & Devil” video, which involved makeup, script, and a wicked amount of editing time (parenthetically this iPod video was born out of my frustration about overlooking the free AT&T phone by signing up directly with AT&T instead of Mac, and a quote that popped out of my mouth in a meeting this week: “I just paid $400 to eliminate jealousy.”).

Kudos to the Bubble video, which will be one of the seminal viral creations. If I’m going to be beat I’m delighted to see something this entertaining (versus musical montages of funny cat photos). This was cleverly written, jampacked imagery, and self depricating (it depicts a blog post with “another lame web 2.0 music video”)


I’m Glenda the Good Witch of Video

nalts is glendaI laugh at videos daily, but rarely due blogs make me chuckle. But in this SocialTNT blog post, Chris Apollo Lynn depicts TechCrunch contributor Dan Ackerman Greenberg as The Wicked Witch of the West, while I get the Glenda The Good Witch photo. I kinda liked my nickname for Greenberg, who revealed some of his borderline unethical techniques to drive views for clients. I called him “Viral Video Villain” and even parked the domain for him: www.viralvideovillain.com. But The Wicked Witch is more clever.

It’s not the first time I’ve been accused of wearing a dress, but this marks the first time I’ve been likened to Glenda. My wife (wifeofnalts), by the way, does a pretty good impersonation of Glenda and Dorothy.

I admit I didn’t expect much from this blog post when I noticed the cloud tag had “public relations 2.0” in a giant font. Unfortunately it seems that (Rubel as an exception) PR folks talking about online-video and innovative marketing is like listening to my son Charlie quote Shakespeare. But this piece, “Please Standby: Rethinking Online Video Strategy,” is pretty tight. Provides nice context into the evolution of online video, the recent debates around it, and some good tips for folks looking to engage.

The Internet’s New “Viral Video Villain”

nalts-is-evil.jpgI’ve been called everything from a sellout to Satan (this video is the best hater video I’ve ever seen, and features me with a sign “Will Video for Souls” as I transform into Lucifer). So it gives me some relief to know that the online-video community has found a new Osama.

His name is Dan Ackerman Greenberg, and his lightening rod was a ‘guest post’ he wrote for TechCrunch that generated nearly 500 comments (mostly negative) and incensed me into writing this post about how to bust cheats.

dan ackerman greenberg: viral video villianI hereby dub him the “Most Despised Guy of Online Video Since ZeFrank,” and have parked www.ViralVideoVillain.com to redirect to his profile. My way of pouring oil on the fire that happens to not be burning me.

Favorite comments:

  1. What next, an article on how to make money from stock market scams and flogging dodgy pills?
  2. Idiot. The reason your trickery is necessary that your venal predecessors in advertising have burned their credibility in other media already. And now here you are, a leech on a new medium, feeding off the trust that other people have built up. Pathetic.
  3. I wonder how many of these comments are employees from his office “creating controversy”

At issue was the ethics of Greenberg’s strategies to get promotional videos a viral-video injection. While some techniques were legitimate (careful titling and selection of thumbnails), his piece boasted some bottom-feeder approaches like rigging comments via sock-puppet accounts. The backlash was so severe it prompted Greenberg to convince TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington to give him a “another word” in this post that has already generated about 150 comments.

  • Greenberg says: “The original post was framed quite differently, but after going through the TechCrunch editorial filter, it ended up sounding like a tell-all about our shady business practices.”
  • Arrington responds: “I am not aware of the edits that were made to his original post, but we are reviewing it now to see if any changes altered the original meaning. It is a fairly serious allegation, and we will follow up appropriately.”

(Insert screeching-cat sound effect here).

Meanwhile my less controversial but broadly distributed Advertising Age piece on “Ten Lessons for Marketers Using Viral Video” was either perfectly or horribly timed. I knew I should have advocated Lisa Nova spamming to get views.

TechCrunch Steals from My Little Blog

Here at WillVideoforFood, there is nothing we love more than when one of our posts gets linked to and talked about. And like the majority of other blogs out there, we try to be good citizens by linking back to any source from which we excerpt. But there is a growing minority of spam blogs, or splogs, that indiscriminately take entire posts from other blogs and present them as their own.

For example, here is a screen shot from one random splog that just reposts WillVideoForFood’s entire feed with no links back to WillVideoforfood or even acknowledgement of the source.

techcrunch stole my baby

Just for the record, taking any blog’s entire feed and republishing it as your own content is not okay. Notice that the only difference between this splog (I think it’s called TechCrunch) and WillVideoForFood is all the Google ads splattered everywhere.

We are not alone in this. Any blog that produces fresh content on a daily basis is an easy target. Google makes it economical to create such splogs through AdSense and then rewards them with traffic through its search engine. Google (and the other search engines) need to stop rewarding such behavior. Oh, by the way.

I have to tell you this is a joke or else someone will take this seriously, right? I’ve just ripped all this copy from TechCrunch and pretended it was my own. Just lil’ old David blog tossing a few McNuggets at the Golliath blog. Maybe the folks at TC (think “The online Oprahs of technology”) will find me and write about my exclusive footage of the Google Dream Phone. I think it’s worthy of a TechCrunch post. Don’t you? Heck- they can even steal my post about it.