When Viral Marketing Goes Wrong

Sunday morning, December 1st, I was jolted out of my daydream by my sobbing Florida intern Shannon Hemmings breaking the news to me that her favourite actor had just died in a car crash. "Would I like her to write a tribute article for our website?" she asked.

Although I have never been a fan of The Fast & The Furious I did agree, because Shannon was so passionate about it.

At 1:30pm the article arrived, and I shoved it onto our website, sent out a tweet to the @Raindance and posted a short note on Facebook. I totally forgot about it until 7pm when I was doing a sneaky catchup on my emails and noticed that nearly 300 people were looking at the www.raindance.org website.

To cut a long story short, over 125,000 people read Shannon's article over the next 48 hours, crashing our site repeatedly and clogging our emails. All that traffic came from those two postings. I just looked at the page now and it's had over 13,000 Facebook likes. Wow.

While getting traffic to one's website is the goal of every internet marketeer, and an indie filmmaker's wet dream, this one has definately backfired in the busy busy run up to this weekend's British Independent Film Awards (we founded the BIFA's, remember?). Do I wish I had never agreed to this popst. Tyhe better part of three days now with no emails and only a partially operating website.

So, if you are A Paul Walker fan, please do NOT read Shannon's excellent tribute article:
In Memory of Paul Walker: 5 Things You Might Not Have Known. It will stop me from getting emails. And I need them urgently!

And if you want to see what the BIFAs are all about, and want to see James Nesbitt MC the show, you can catch it online, for FREE from 8pm on Sunday December 8th right here.

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