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Reader question: Specialized resources for driving traffic?

Q: Andrew -I do enjoy your blog. Can you direct me to some resources for driving traffic to specialized social networking sites / social networking? Or anything at all that I can read up on. Thanks
Posted by AC

A: I’m often pinged for requests to recruit for people who are great at viral marketing, or traffic generation, or the like. Here’s the quick answer to that, blogged for posterity:

  • Because traffic is greatly valued right now, all the best people in viral marketing are off doing their own companies – in this list, I’d include the founders of Slide, RockYou, Hi5, Flixster, Tagged, etc. The short list of experts is probably around a dozen or two at most, and they are certainly all in San Francisco
  • Obviously, anyone who says they are a viral marketing expert but runs a consulting firm probably doesn’t know what they’re doing, otherwise they would have their own destination site that they were growing. In many cases, they are experts in “word of mouth,” not the viral marketing techniques online that generate millions of users
  • Since the science of quantitative viral marketing is new, few people have written about it, and in fact, the community as a whole is pretty secretive about the entire thing (for better or worse)

I think for the folks who are interested in viral marketing, the best place to start is to understand website metrics really really well. Then go read about the SEO industry, then learn about affiliate/leadgen practices (including optimization techniques), and then go study Facebook apps. It’d take a good 6-12 months to do (that’s about the time it took me), but once you’re done with it, you can really pick up a lot.

If you’re an engineer and actually like to build stuff, I’d be open to meeting folks here in SF – just shoot me a mail. 

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