I wrote a piece today that raises some interesting questions. Have methods of viral distribution spread widely enough so that an online word-of-mouth campaign can bypass techie bloggers? The MSN Found campaign — slammed by Scoble and dissed by other bloggers — is aimed at mainstream consumers. It doesn’t have RSS distribution, it doesn’t allow videos to be downloaded, and the “blogs” are fake (though in their defense, they are designed to be fake, from characters in an ongoing narrative).
So if early-adopter techie bloggers find MSN Found uninteresting, is that it? Does the meme go no further? Or will e-mail “forward to a friend” and more mainstream (read: teen diary) blogging save the day for MSN? Time will tell, I suppose. MSN isn’t talking about it and they’ll probably only spill if it’s eventually successful, but one wonders whether this will become one of those cautionary tales of online marketing gone wrong (like Raging Cow).
UPDATE: MSN responds to the Found controversy via its blog, saying it’s going to add RSS feeds though “very few updates” to the campaign are planned. Kudos to the firm for acknowledging the discussion that’s been going on.
UPDATE2: Scoble apologizes.