The Viral Startup: A Guide to Designing Viral Loops, Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen

The Viral Startup: A Guide to Designing Viral Loops

162 printed pages
Andrew Chen is a blogger and entrepreneur focused on consumer internet, metrics and user acquisition. He is an advisor/angel for early-stage startups including Appsumo, Cardpool (acquired by Safeway), Catchfree, Gravity, Mocospace, Launchbit, Qik (acquired by Skype), WeeWorld, Votizen, and is also a 500 Startups mentor.

In his blog, Andrew shares his best advice for a viral startup. This eBook includes the most interesting, popular, and relevant advice from Andrew's blog ( and organizes it into actionable advice for readers. Linking to additional resources and further reading, it's the perfect road map that breaks down the path to a truly successful viral company.
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Pyrusshared an impression4 years ago

3 Reasons Why You Want To Read This Book:

- Written by one of the best entrepreneurship blogs of all time.
- You're gonna know why the Viral Marketing Is Not a Marketing Strategy
- And what question you've got to say instead of: “We have product X, how do we virally spread it?”

Read it. You've got to know.

Let's take an example where you're a photo-sharing site, and you need more people to upload their pictures. Local maxima could be reached by doing things like:
A/B testing your upload page to make people more likely to upload
Delivering a ton of email notifications prompting users to upload
Using switch-and-bait tactics like information-hiding, creating false incentives, etc.
Creating a gimmicky points system to upload photos
In many cases, I feel like many Facebook apps are trying to solve their problems by enacting the solutions as above. I think the quantitative side lends itself well to the above approaches, yet you rapidly hit diminishing returns.
Compare this to much harder (but higher payout) approaches like:
Repositioning the product for a higher resonating value proposition
Going after a different kind of audience to target their needs
Recalibrating the "core mechanic" of the product to make uploading photos a natural part of using the product (like HotOrNot, for example)
These qualitative approaches are much higher risk, because you can't collect significant amounts of data to validate your responses. You end up doing lots of user interviews, conducting ethnographic studies, and other methodologies that generate lots of data, but it's still up to you as the entrepreneur to figure it out. Not easy!
No single feature determines the virality of the product
Viral branding
Most people, when they talk about viral marketing, are in fact talking about viral branding. That’s the philosophy of: do something REALLY cool and people will tell all their friends
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