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by Seth Godin

Pub Date: June 25th, 2010
Publisher: Vook

An update of a wildly popular e-book from a media and marketing guru.

Godin has become a brand of his own partly for peddling the basic idea of this brief e-book, which is enhanced by beautiful, slick videos illustrating his key concepts. The “ideavirus” is a term coined back in 2000 by the compulsively term-coining Godin for something better known as a “meme.” The author offers numerous examples that have made his exemplars lots of money—or at least, lots of potential to make lots of money. Perhaps the most striking example is Hotmail, the original free e-mail service. The product was not so much the service as the idea that it was free. A more original Godin term, also discussed in the book, is “smoothness,” which describes the ease with which an idea can be spread. Hotmail’s creators put an unobtrusive one-line ad for the service with a link to join up in every e-mail their users sent. Very smooth, as Godin would say. The ultimate object of the author’s manifesto is to urge marketers off the conventional, expensive ad campaign and think of ways to get customers to market to each other. An interesting and relevant question: Are the Vook enhancements—those slick videos, hyperlinks and updating of the text—sufficiently super an enticement to make customers pay for what the author says is the most downloaded free e-book in history, one that is still available for free?

Maybe not for everyone, but Godin fans and hipster marketers will want to buy it just to see the guru of smooth in action.