“Give a product away, and it can go viral. Charge a single cent for it and you’re in an entirely different business… ‘Free’ has the power to create a consumer stampede.”
– Chris Anderson, Free: The Future of a Radical Price
A few weeks ago I announced that Bard Press – America’s most successful publisher of non-fiction books – had decided to give away 20,000 advance-reading copies of The Full Plate Diet.
Here’s how that experiment turned out: 5,279 of you requested a free book during the first 6 days. After those books began to arrive, we saw a second surge of requests that continued to build until finally, just before Ray pulled the plug on the computer, he was receiving more than 200 orders per minute.
Yes, I said “per minute.”
The term “going viral” refers to that moment when word-of-mouth reaches critical mass and begins to grow exponentially.
New Experiment: You liked the $20 freebie. So today we’re doing a $50 freebie. Keep reading.
Last month, NASA learned their original copy of the moon landing video was nowhere to be found. Perhaps you heard about it.
This historic footage was recovered when NASA scrounged four badly degraded, barely viewable copies from around the world, then painfully stacked, merged and recompiled them to recreate the video. At the time of this writing – 3 weeks into the project – $230,000 has been spent and only 40 percent of the work has been done.
You thought magnetic tape lasted longer than that?
Evidently, so did NASA.
Now for the Bad News: The DVDs you and I burn have a shorter lifespan than videotape. Homemade DVDs last only 6 to 8 years. And the faster your burning speed, the shorter the life of your DVD.
“Six to eight years? That can’t be true. I bought a Dances With Wolves DVD back in 1996 and it still plays fine.”
Mass-duplicated DVDs are made using an entirely different process known as “glass mastering” that’s viable only when making a large number of copies.
Oh, you bought a “gold” DVD so you think your photographs, videos, important documents and creative work are safe?
UPDATE: When the information on DVDs began to disappear, we assumed the reflective backing was becoming tarnished so “gold” DVDs were introduced because gold doesn’t tarnish. But these gold DVDs are degrading just as fast as the silver ones.
The tarnishing of the reflective surface was only a small problem. The big problem is the fading of the laser-sensitive ink in the sandwich layer between the clear plastic and the reflective surface. Remember when fax machines used rolls of thermal fax paper and the faxes they made would fade after a year or two? Same problem.
Photographs, videos, important documents and creative work should all be carved in stone. I mean that literally, by the way, not metaphorically.
A Cranberry disc is a DVD made of high-tech, man-made stone and the data carved on a Cranberry will likely last longer than the pyramids. No ink layer. No fading. Problem solved.
David McInnis is a wild-eyed entrepreneur and a good friend. And he’s going to give you a $50 Cranberry if you want it.
I’ll give you the results of today’s experiment in a couple of weeks.
Roy H. Williams
PS – Don't fo'get the rabbit ho', Bebo.
Two Awesome Classes start soon:
Sexton and Maddock teach Writing for Radio and the Internet.
Give them two days next week (Aug. 25-26) and they'll give you a lifetime of more effective ad copy. Believe it or not, there are still 5 rooms available in Engelbrecht House, the academy's student mansion. Sign up now and you'll have a room for 2 days and 3 nights, meals included. This is going to be a small class, so you'll get lots of personal attention. I'd do it if I were you. Aroooo!
Why do we believe
some statements and disbelieve others?
Join the fascinating Tom Wanek (WAY-nek) on a telephone-and-computer-bridge for 1 hour each week beginning Friday, August 28, and he'll answer that question as no one else can. You'll meet with Tom and fewer than 10 other students to undertake a detailed investigation of the Six Currencies of Credibility. At the end of this 5-week class you'll be able to accelerate the credibility of everything you claim. Yes, you can buy the belief of others. Tom will tell you how. Machiavelli would be proud. New students, $700. Acadgrads, $350. New students: graduate from this live, online course and you'll become an Acadgrad, able to register for other classes at half price. (We are very preferential toward our graduates. You really should become one.)
Wizard Academy is a nontraditional business school.
We teach secrets you won't learn anywhere else.