If you are developing a similar viral social networking sites you need to develop a following, but you are an unknown commodity, you have to get your name or brand out there somehow and some way. This is where having a strong digital Q-rating can help. If I have a strong digital Q-rating and refer a particular web site, as the site of choice for a particular topic, then the audience is much more willing to respect my recommendation and visit that site, helping to make that site popular. You can develop your digital Q-rating in a variety of ways, for example: posting your site on topic-related blogs along with your comments, mass email forwards, various search engines, etc... However the real key is the content or service you are providing through these posts, emails, or blogs. If you are a content provider, it is imperative that you provide relevant and unique content to both develop and influence your audience and then hope that your audience goes viral. Giving you the sphere of influence needed to develop a popular social site, with either a subscription or advertising business model behind it. It will also present opportunities in the off-line world as well, therefore increasing your overall Q-rating.
In terms of viral marketing and business, it's important to develop a strong audience with your sphere of influence which you could use to monetize your audience and their potential for making your sphere of influence viral. If people are interested in what you have to say then you can develop an audience and sphere of influence i.e. Q-rating, on the internet that can translate to the off-line world as well.
NielsenBuzzMetrics, has a service that taps into the massive pool of unaided television discussion occurring on blogs, message boards and other social media to rate and rank the “buzz” of TV shows. Another competitor in this new space is Brandimensions, which based its findings on Internet comments recorded between September and November. Brandimensions says its robots, crawlers, and spiders traverse 20 billion Web links to fan sites, blogs and chat rooms in a 30-day cycle to determine buzz rankings for TV programs. The service “gives us a unique measure of viral energy,” says CEO Bradley Silver. I wouldn’t be surprised if this technology is deployed to track and rate the buzz of other media vehicles such as music, magazines, and websites. There is no reason why the owners of the most popular websites and blogs can’t share in the advertising budget for the audiences that they influence. I can see advertisers approaching some of these internet stars to recommend or push their products or services to their audiences. Again this validates the need for a strong digital Q rating and the potential dollars affiliated to your sphere of influence.
The key is developing YOUR audience to strengthen YOUR Q-rating. That’s just part of my theory in viral marketing in today’s web 2.0 environment. For more on this please check out the book Millionaire in the Basement due out in 2007.