The Business of Viral Videos

Viral marketing, also called viral advertising, refers to a marketing technique that utilizes unconventional means – like websites – in spreading information about a product or service. One of the best ways to do viral marketing is by creating video campaigns. Videos attract a bigger audience because they can be seen on practically every corner of the Internet, specifically on social media and video sharing sites. As these videos are shared across different sites and viewed by various groups of people, they become viral. To use a cliché, they “spread like a disease”. Thus, they are called viral videos.

A viral video is created for the purpose of Internet sharing via social media, electronic mail and video sharing websites. They developed into trending videos, which means they become extra popular online because of extensive spreading through different platforms. Most viral videos are amusing, entertaining and / or humorous in nature.

How the Videos Are Spread Online

Video sharing site YouTube is the most popular choice for posting viral marketing videos. Since it has buttons that allow for sharing on social sites like Facebook and Twitter, getting the videos across different niches and audiences is easy. These videos are then picked up by other websites and netizens.

Once viral, the videos appear on a video chart. This chart lists the most popular and most recently uploaded videos on YouTube. Some websites even have a separate section or page for their own viral video chart. It basically acts like a viral video compilation. Some people actually prefer browsing through the chart instead of searching through YouTube or other social media sites.

How Viral Videos Help Market Products and Services

There are four reasons why businesses should consider using viral videos to promote their products and services:

  1. Videos attract people. They are more interesting, visually appealing and engaging.
  2. Videos offer a definitive answer to what your product or service can do, as well as give a clear picture of what a customer will stand to gain by patronizing such product or service.
  3. Videos can be viewed multiple times, no matter what time of day; any day of the week. Thus, they create long lasting awareness for your brand.
  4. Videos attract more people to your website. And these visitors will find reasons to stay longer and explore the site.

Major Brands Using Viral Videos to Market Products

Some of the world’s most popular consumer brands have been using viral videos for product promotions. They use videos to introduce a new product or promote a campaign. Some companies even have a viral video series. Here are four enterprises that have made significant impressions with their viral marketing campaigns.

  • *Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” viral video series started in 2006. The videos show the company’s product – blenders – blending almost anything, from golf balls to glow sticks to the iPad. Majority of their videos (more than a hundred!) have a million views on YouTube. The glow sticks video has the most views at three million. The “Will It Blend?” website has a chart showing their latest and most popular videos.
  • Red Bull is another company that uses viral videos to get their message across. Its “The Athlete Machine – Red Bull Kluge” video went viral in 2012. At present, it has more than 14.6 million views on YouTube. The video simply shows different clips of extreme or action sports, something that Red Bull is now known for.
  • Nike knows how to make good viral marketing videos. One of its most popular campaigns is the video that features NBA star Kobe Bryant jumping over a car – an Aston Martin, at that! – while wearing his Nike apparels. It has over 2.8 million views on YouTube.

How to Determine if it is Trending or Not

To find out whether a video has gone viral, you need to track the results by regularly monitoring several metrics or feedback (such as number of likes, comments and shares). Social media monitoring is one way of doing this. Monitor or follow different websites to stay updated with what is happening online. You don’t just track social media sites, though; you also monitor forums, blogs and news websites.

There are tools that can be used for video monitoring, which will make it easier for businesses to track the spread of viral videos on YouTube, social networks and other online portals.

Conclusion

Although viral marketing and viral videos can never go mainstream like traditional television commercials, they’re here to stay. One reason for this is their ability to capture the attention of a wide and diverse audience. Moreover, as their main means of advertising is the Internet, they are – in some ways – cheaper than traditional advertising. And lastly, since technology is here to stay, viral videos are here to stay, too. In fact, we may be in for bigger video surprises in the future!

California Wildfires – What to Do If You’re Forced to Evacuate From Your Home Or Business?

Additional Living Expense (ALE) Claims

HERE’S A SUPER IMPORTANT A.L.E. TIP!

Over the past few years, wildfires in the Western United States have been horrendous, displacing tens of thousands of people from their homes and businesses, and causing billions of dollars in fire damages. But what happens when the local authorities force you to evaluate when fire gets too close?

There’s coverage in the ALE portion of the policy! I promise that the insurance companies are not running radio and TV ads, alerting their policyholders about THIS coverage!

Here’s a exact quote from the ISO homeowners policy:

“If a civil authority prohibits you from use of the “residence premises” as a result of direct damage to neighboring premises by a Peril Insured Against in this policy, We cover the Additional Living Expense and Fair Rental Value loss…..for no more than two weeks.” (1)

In a Homeowner insurance policy, you’ll usually see ALE coverage listed as Coverage D. Sometimes, it’s called Loss of Use.

Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage is just what you might think it is. When you have a covered loss that makes the place you reside unfit to live in, and it forces you to spend more on normal operating costs than you usually spend, ALE coverage pays.

Your policy probably reads just like the following: “Additional Living Expense, meaning any necessary increases in living expenses incurred by you so that your household can maintain its normal standard of living.”

ALE covers things like:

a. Temporary housing, like in a hotel, an apartment or rental house. If you lived in a modest home, don’t expect the insurance company to pay for the finest hotel room in town. But on the other hand, if you lived in an expensive home, you should EXPECT AND DEMAND that the insurance company pay for temporary accommodations of like kind and quality. Remember, if you had a mortgage on your home, you still have to pay the mortgage payment while the home is being repaired. Lots of times the loss is severe and the adjuster knows you’ll be out of your home for weeks or months. The insurance company will save money if it places your family in an extended stay hotel, or in a short term apartment or house lease. In addition to saving money on rent, the insurance company can pay advances on Contents, and if you’re in an apartment or house, you’ll have a place to store your new contents, like furniture, clothing and kitchenware.

b. Laundry and dry cleaning. If you had laundry facilities at your residence, it will cost you more to get your clothes cleaned. The extra cost you incur is covered.

c. Meals. This is where many people misunderstand their claim. Certainly, if you cannot buy and prepare your own meals, you’ll incur higher food prices. But insurance companies won’t usually pay for costly steak dinners and high bar tabs. You’re going to have to be able to explain your meal purchases, so don’t go overboard. You’ll have to make an accurate estimate of what your family normally spends per month on food. That can certainly include restaurant meals that you normally buy. Just remember that ALE is paying for items OVER your normal standard of living. Keep METICULOUS RECORDS of your food purchases. If the insurance company places you into a temporary apartment or efficiency hotel that has a kitchen, they’ll stop paying for most extra meals.

d. Boarding costs for pets. Someone has to take care of your pets while you cannot live in your home. This is covered.

e. Increased transportation costs for all your vehicles. Do you have to drive your children to school, since your temporary accommodations are not in the old school district? That’s covered. Do you have to drive further to and from work? Covered. Do you have further to drive to doctors, dentists, ballet classes, soccer games, etc.? The increased cost is covered. Did I say KEEP METICULOUS RECORDS? Most office supply stores have automobile expense logbooks for sale for a dollar or two. Stop by and pick up one for each car you drive, and write down EVERY TRIP. Keep all receipts for every penny you spend on transportation.

f. Furniture rental for a temporary residence. You have to have chairs and beds and other stuff…even pots and pans, dishes and temporary electronics. However, don’t try to get them to pay for a 60″ plasma flat screen TV rental if you had a 27″ color TV at home.

g. Relocation and storage expenses. Perhaps some of your personal property was not damaged. Perhaps some was damaged, but the restoration contractor is cleaning and repairing it. Once it’s cleaned and repaired, it’s got to be stored somewhere until you can move back home. Covered.

h. Costs of telephone or utility installation at your temporary residence. This would include deposits that the utility companies might require. Don’t forget garbage pickup at your temporary place. It’s all covered. Even cable TV hookups would be covered if you had cable at home prior to the loss.

What if you stayed with relatives, and did not incur increased rent, and many of the other expenses shown above? Another scenario is that you just simply do not want to go through the process of documenting all of your extra expenses. The policy gives you the option to be paid “Fair Rental Value”, which is: “the fair rental value of that part of the ‘residence premises’ where you reside less any expenses that do not continue while the premises is not fit to live in.”

How much would your house rent for? That’s the question.

You’ll need to make a comparison between your residence, like it was before the loss, and properties in the neighborhood that are comparable to yours. A good real estate broker can be very helpful in substantiating these comparable properties and the monthly costs of them. Once you determine the Fair Rental Value of your home, you must subtract expenses that do not continue during the restoration period, such as some utilities, garbage pickup, landscaping services or maid services.

Some insurance companies will still pay for extra transportation costs, relocation expenses, storage of contents and utilities in addition to Fair Rental Value. Some will make you choose either ALE or Fair Rental Value. Find out from your insurance company what they are going to do, and make your decision.

Go to the website listed in the Resource Box below and find the Resources tab. Download the ALE worksheet and make as many copies as you need. Use it as your guide to record and submit your ALE claim.

If your records and receipts were damaged in your loss, contact your utility companies, credit card companies and other creditors and get copies of the last couple months’ bills. You’ll need these records to confirm your normal operating expenses.

Finally: Don’t be surprised if your adjuster or claims examiner tries to disqualify some of your legitimate expenses. Don’t just accept what the adjuster says. If it’s a truly legitimate expense, FIGHT FOR IT! Go over the adjuster’s head to his supervisor. Keep fighting. Send them a letter that insists that they give you written denial of any legitimate expenses. Once you have that in your possession, call your state Department of Insurance (DOI) and register a written complaint. You never know what impact a DOI complaint will have on your claim.

(1) Insurance Service Office, Inc., “CPCU Handbook of Insurance Policies,” 2005.

Copyright 2008 by Russell D. Longcore

The Ameriplan Business Opportunity: Is It A Legit Endeavor?

Is The Ameriplan Business Opportunity A Scam?

We’ll be looking at three things in this piece- first, is the Ameriplan business opportunity a legitimate company ( i.e. not a scam )? Second- can they help you? And last-is it a good investment of your time and efforts?

What The Ameriplan Business Opportunity Offers Ameriplan is essentially another option people can use to get discounts from various providers for health care coverage. They also have Independant Business Owners (called IBO’s ) who promote Ameriplan and basically broker it. If you’re not in the U.S., then Ameriplan is not available to you. ( Sorry Alaska, you too.)Individuals pay $11.95 per month, households $19.95- to get 80 % off all dental work done. That was the original plan. Since then the company has expanded what they do and their coverages.They have added a free vision program and a pharmaceutical program, and a chiropractic program as well. In addition they offer programs at $39.95 /mo. for all of the above and physician care, nurse line,ancillary care,and hospital advocacy. Finally, there is one more program at $59.95 that also includes an auto club, identity theft assistance and legal services. You’re thinking ‘Wait, I thought this was a health insurance company, what’s with all the other stuff’? The company has obviously added more to their repertoire since then, for various reasons, but I’m assuming to provide more value in the face of one of their biggest complaints: that their programs are not accepted at many locations, and this can make it difficult and frustrating for people. This is also an objection raised about joining with the company and becoming an IBO( Independant, Broker- basically the equivalent of a distributor, with Ameriplan. Now is Ameriplan a scam? No. In fact, they were given an A by the Better Business Bureau.The only way any one might consider this program a scam was if they got into the company to make a lot of money and expected it to happen overnight; so let’s take a look at the business aspect…

The Lowdown On The Ameriplan

Business Opportunity If you’re thinking of joining the Ameriplan business opportunity you will basically be going in as a broker -recruiting people into signing with and using Ameriplan. Now according to their business plan they are THE largest provider of medical benefits at extremely low prices. That’s a difficult claim to evaluate, but one thing that does draw folks to the company is the lack of inventory and products. So when one joins the Ameriplan business oppurtunity, you pay an initial fee and a monthly fee for training, tools such as DVD’s and brochures, Ekits, and the like. One complaint I did observe about this company and the Ameriplan business opportunity was that not all tools were included in the beginning and their were price upgrades for additional tools. The comp plan is commission based, with matching bonuses, advanced commissions and management bonus ovverrides, which one becomes privy to as they recruit more people under them and rise in the company. This plan is actually very good, and if you are a person who is good on the phone and likes spending a lot of time recruiting others this way, Ameriplan may just be right for you and you can likely acquire a good deal of success with them.