Hoax Marketing – SEO in an Attention Ecconomy

The Information age is an attention economy. Attention is getting more scarce; therefore, what you will need to do to get attention will continue to get more difficult. Don’t worry about how you will monetize attention once you have it. What is important is that you get attention. Without it, you are nothing.

Link bait is alive and well. However, there is a subsection of link bait called “Hoax Marketing.” Hoax marketing is the most viral way to get attention on the Net. People love a good Hoax and there doesn’t seem to be a better way to get the attention of millions and get tons of quality backlinks.

Take the recent example of the fake video showing vandals spraying graffiti on Air Force One. This story has over 185 links in Google News from mainstream news outlets. This Hoax got Millions and millions of viewers and probably tens of thousands of backlinks. Sure it cost a bit to pull off this hoax. But how much would you pay for 10,000 REAL backlinks including over 185 from high ranking news sites and more than 10 million visitors?

Another example of hoax marketing making a killing from the SERPs is Zug who is ranking #8 in Google for Viagra. That hoax brings more than 10k search visitors per day for very lucrative search terms. Zugg also has tons of other pranks for other competitive serch terms like credit cards and penis pills.

Hoax marketing is so powerful because first you get all the traffic from the direct links and then all those links generate traffic from the search engines (The Long Tail). Remember, it doesn’t matter how crazy your story is because people will believe anything.

Hoax Marketing is already an incredible force for Search Engine Optimization – people are just now beginning to realize it. The skillset of the best SEOs in the world must continue to evolve. Hoax Marketing is one logical evolotionary growth path that will prove to be extremely profitable.

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7 Responses to “Hoax Marketing – SEO in an Attention Ecconomy”

  1. Great post! My initial thoughts were, ‘yeah, it might work for a while but surely most people would wise-up to hoax marketing and learn to ignore it, so inevitably it would become less effective or even ineffective’! But, on the other hand, journalistic sensationalism has been used by daily tabloids for many decades – and it’s still effective!

    “Critics often say the goal of sensationalistic reporting is increased (or sustained) viewership or readership which can be sold to advertisers.” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensationalism

    Ok, sensationalism is not the same as hoaxing, but sometimes it’s just a blurred line that separates them. So, combining intelligent sensationalism with plausible hoax marketing sounds like an effective route for back-links… clever stuff!

  2. eslsociety says:

    This type of thing isn’t just good for serps, but can generate a ton of traffic outside of the se’s . . .

    The guy who did the origami kitten thing on myspace is STILL getting people posting about that every day. Thousands of people putting up bulletins and driving traffic to his site.

    That save toby stuff was pretty good too. That guy has to have made a ton already.

    Anything innovative involving cruelty to animals seems to work REALLY well, but you know – I actually like animals and worry about some ftard taking things seriously so I wouldn’t do it.

  3. [...] SEOBlackhat has a good post on alternative link building strategy. He describes how hoaxes can generate massive inbound linkage from authority sites, using the fictional Air Force One graffitti incident as an example. Compare the effort involved in getting these links with getting those links by other means. [...]

  4. [...] So what’s this have to do with SEO? Everything! Hoax marketing is like link building on Nitro. Once you get your head around that, you will have such a huge advantage over other SEOs and Copywriters that you will wonder how you ever promoted with out it. [...]

  5. [...] For many April Fools day is just a time for gags. For marketers and publishers, however, hoax marketing is becoming an increasingly attractive way of pulling in backlinks. Last April, Quadzilla said “Hoax Marketing is one logical evolotionary growth path that will prove to be extremely profitable.” [...]

  6. sadgfh says:

    wasnt google the first to do this? with the april fools thing?

  7. [...] Mais c’est tout de même très inquiétant. Car Lyndon, et les nombreux compères qu’il aura inspiré avec cette histoire de par le monde, ne renoncent en rien à ces stratégies de hoax marketing, car seuls les résultats comptent. Et il est probable que la prochaine fois, ils ne se vanteront pas d’avoir triché. [...]