‘Viral’ marketing catches on

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‘Viral’ marketing catches on

Word of mouth is being recreated in the Internet environment, establishing a new, fast-moving means of communication. Special features that enable a person to take an image or text from someone else’s Web site and copy it to his own Web site has made information travel much faster. This shortcut of copying and pasting is called “peom” in Korean, an abbreviated form of “peo-om” which means scooping up something and making it one’s own. “Scooping” is particularly popular on Internet Web logs, or blogs, where bloggers can take a posting from another blog and import the information onto their own site with a simple mouse click. Phoenix Communications, an advertising agency, revealed yesterday the results of a survey that explored people’s use of scooping on the Internet. Of 500 people who had a personal Internet forum such as a blog or personal Web site, 98 percent said that they had experience in scooping and 72 percent said that they did it at least once a week. About 64 percent said that more than a quarter of the content on their Web site consisted of information taken from other sites. Naver, a major portal site, enables users to scoop news articles to their blogs and allows bloggers to scoop postings from other blogs. Cyworld, which provides a mini homepage service, has similar functions where people can copy photographs or writings from other people’s pages to their own. Freelance musician Kim So-young’s Web site is composed primarily of adopted content, including photographs of her favorite celebrities, funny cartoons, and poetry. Han Young-jun, a graphic designer and photographer, has a blog with samples of his own work. His photographs and graphic works have been scooped by thousands of other bloggers. “I like having other people see my work,” he said. At popular parody sites such as dcinside.com, digitally composed funny images or short flash animations can be copied to other Web sites seconds after being uploaded. From a marketer’s perspective, this function, known overseas as “viral marketing,” can be used as “digital word of mouth,” Phoenix said. “This communication channel can be used to spread news or rumors of products and is a comfortable means of approaching consumers,” said marketing planning director Kim Tae-yong. Analysts, however, point out that there are negative aspects ― the primary one being infringement of copyrights. “I wrote a music review on my Web site but later found it on someone else’s Web site without any credit. I was furious,” said architect Kwon Young-hwan. “I make sure I put a copyright stamp on every photo, but when I post something up on my blog, it is with the understanding that it will be copied elsewhere,” Mr. Han said. by Wohn Dong-hee

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