The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… “Viral” Videos

…are IMPOSSIBLE to CREATE. For instance, a commercial company is currently trying to make one fly – with Jennifer Aniston – on Metacafe. However, MY first viral is on that service and she hasn’t caught up with THAT yet. My Action Squirrel still reigns supreme over JENNIFER ANISTON, for crissakes!

The funny thing is, when I first created him, I did so just for myself and a few friends. Then, when I began YouTubing, I decided to give him a go at the Big Time. He was up for three months – and ZILCH.

So I figured I’d give him a go on Metacafe – and WHAMMO!

Overnight, he got FIVE THOUSAND HITS. Then, over the next few weeks, he ramped up to a QUARTER OF A MILLION. Three months more – though slowing a bit – he still managed to pass the HALF-MILLION mark.

He’s slowed even more now – but like the Energiser Bunny, he’s still going! Currently, another six months on, he has SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND HITS – TWICE as many as Jennifer!

But then, you never know WHAT will go viral – or for how long. A number of my pieces have SHOT off – then TANKED around ten thousand.

Altogether, my one thousand, seven hundred-plus uploads have produced about twenty big-hitters (six-figure earners – between a hundred thousand and one million hits). But they are just steady PLODDERS. They’ve taken up to TWO YEARS to reach those heights.

The ones that are REALLY interesting, from the HITS standpoint (which are not really the REASON for uploading – but it IS nice when you get ’em) are the two I currently have which are heading for the TWO MILLION mark. But only ONE is truly VIRAL.

Let me elucidate (which at my age, can be dangerous) – my Pop video of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” has done very well. After (like my squirrel piece) doing ZILCH for, in this case, TWO months – it suddenly started to CLIMB. Here’s its stats…

As can clearly be seen, the piece has done well throughout the Americas and over the last eight months has done a steady linear climb to around twelve thousand hits a day – having on its way picked up nearly a million and a half hits. But it is NOT VIRAL – just a really good earner.

On the other hand, my video of Tom Mullica performing his amazing comedy magic routine where he (sort of) EATS CIGARETTES, did nada for nearly EIGHT months – then suddenly went BALLISTIC, climbing to nearly SEVENTY thousand hits a day. However, as can be seen below, it only lasted for ten weeks – having now dropped back to just EIGHT thousand-odd a day.

But DURING those ten weeks, it glommed ONE AND THREE QUARTER MILLION HITS! Look at the GRAPH! THAT is a VIRAL VIDEO!

This time, it was a hit only in NORTH America – plus Australia and Britain. The places where smoking is most rabidly demonised. One suspects the piece was a kind of PORNOGRAPHY there.

But the point is this: while something like the Tears For Fears video can last for DECADES, a true viral video is OF THE MOMENT. Like a REAL virus, it “infects” the World for a WHILE – then crashes and burns.

Although, eight thousand hits a day is still not to be sneezed at. In fact now, this uploader is fascinated to see which of them will hit the two million mark FIRST. Tom Mullica may be a quarter-million ahead, but Tears For Fears are currently getting fifty percent more hits – and RISING.

It’s a RACE, baby!

[UPDATE! It turned out to be a DAMN CLOSE one, too! Five weeks and four days later: Tears For Fears WON the race – by just SIX HOURS!]

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2 Responses to “Damien on… “Viral” Videos”

  1. Yeah, I’ve always wondered about viral videos. I don’t know if there truly is a secret formula or a how-to. For the fortunate few that have found their videos to be viral material, good for them! For the unsolved masses who try their best to manufacture viral videos in hopes of being noticed…well, nice try.

    I doubt producing viral videos is a “gift” by any means. We really don’t know what millions of people will simultaneously like in a given instant. There are some videos I watch and wonder “How did THIS get 10 million hits?” Probably from people like me who sometimes stumble upon a video and watch it just because. Those just-becauses add up, and one of the million just-becauses are bound to watch it and like it, send it to a friend, who sends it to another friend, and so on.

    It is an awesome feeling to know that so many people are watching YOUR videos. It’s an acknowledgment that no one in past centuries have experienced. Maybe the only comparison is some of Shakespeare’s works because it was so popular during his lifetime, let alone his death. A viral soliloquy. The strange visual of Shakespeare getting an alert of 10 million “hits” from his parchment blogs is actually quite interesting 🙂

  2. You’re right. Deliberately creating a viral video is as hard as creating a hit movie: you can take all of the right ingredients and – ZIP. But then something you tossed off (so to speak) as an afterthought, goes ballistic.

    And the videos that DO make it are an odd bunch: something like “Chocolate Rain” gets over SEVENTY MILLION hits – and I have NO idea why. As you say, once something hits THOSE numbers, it is self-propelling – people (like ME) will hit it, just to see what the fuss is about. But you have to GET the high numbers first.

    Plus, while one can TRY to make a piece attractive by “hyping” it (like giving it a sexy title) that will only get you INSULTS from people whose time you wasted – and they won’t pass it ON, which is obviously ESSENTIAL for a piece to go viral.

    How far these two pieces will go, I don’t know. As I said in the article, it’s a race to two million, right now – a figure they SHOULD both hit in around 30 days. After that, Tears For Fears should hit three million around years-end, with Tom Mullica following a month or two later.

    However, while no-one is likely to make a copyright claim for Tom (several pieces featuring him are also on YT and TV companies are usually no problem – plus they will probably only own the rights for Britain and Ireland and most of the hits are coming from North America and Australia) Tears For Fears is another matter.

    I understand my video only took off after ANOTHER version came OFF of YT. Whether it was taken down by its uploader, or YT deleted their channel for some reason, or the owner had it torn down – I have no idea. And the fact that my copy has been up for nearly a year makes no difference. I’ve had TWO OR THREE items torn down after they’d been up a year.

    Then there are those numbers. Tears For Fears is a steady (big-earning) climber – thus it should maintain its momentum. However, the Tom Mullica piece is truly VIRAL – and while its original surge has now eased back and LEVELLED at a tenth of what it was, it could go ANYWHERE from there!


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