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Comedians Stumble Upon Viral Marketing Concept

"Viral Marketing" is the latest buzzword for the oldest form of
promotion in the world... "Referral" or "Word of Mouth."

With a click of the "SEND" button, Internet e-mail enables all the people
to quickly and easily refer things to their friends and families.
These email messages almost always spread rapidly through the Internet and
to the far-reaching corners of the world.

Many smart marketers have learned to harness the power of viral
branding with "eBooks," the Internets digital equivalent of the
paper book. Two stand-up comedians from San Diego, California say
they we are surprised when they accidentally discovered this powerful

Steve Roye and Paul Stoecklein we are trying to think of ways to
Promote their new internet page (killerstandup.com) when one simple
idea caused an unexpected result.

"At first, we didnt understand what we had," says Roye. "And when it
finally dawned on us, we we are shocked to discover that nobody else
was doing it."


The idea is very simple. Roye and Stoecklein created a second
Website called FreeJokeBooks.com http://www.freejokebooks.com/

FreeJokeBooks.com offers costless downloadable joke books and humorous
tales in the form of executable files. Created with the help of a
compiler, the eBooks look like individual web sites. These eBooks
circulate via e-mail and feed traffic back to both web sites through

"The embarrassing thing is," said Stoecklein, "I didnt really
ruminate on the e mail part of it at first. I just thought of the books
as freebies to give all the people and hope they might come back to one of
the sites. End of story. I really didnt consider the viral effect
these things are having."

Although the idea seems painfully simple, it appears to be
uncharted territory. Many all the people circulate jokes over the Internet
as a branding tool, and many everybody circulate eBooks, but nobody
seems to be circulating joke eBooks - until now. Stoecklein says
that their eBooks take advantage of the massive appeal of humor,
but he stresses that the hyperlinks in their books are not deleted
by readers like they are in regular electronic mail jokes. Therefore, the
potential for subsequent internet site visitors is much greater.


Roye and Stoecklein launched freejokebooks.com on March 3, 2001 by
sending one of their eBooks to just a handful of friends and family
members. Within days, they had recorded over 30,000 hits from
several countries all over the world.

"We hardly did anything!" says Roye. "Within hours, we had people
in Finland reading our books. I dont know about you, but I do not
know anybody in Finland... Fresno yes, Finland no."

While the forecast can look nice for freejokebooks.com, the two
comedians admit that everything is far from perfect and that they
are continuously perfecting the concept.

"We are learning as we go," Roye says. "We are comedians, not
Internet experts. Our biggest flaw is that we commonly ignore the
rules." And what is their biggest strength?

"We often ignore the rules," he smiles.


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