Monday, November 12, 2007

An Experiment in Viral Marketing : Buying Tickets Online

(Warning: the following post is highly crass and commercial. If that offends you in any way, please don't read on.)

Thanks to some friends who are working in Web marketing, I have a chance to try a viral marketing experiment right here on the blog. I have been give some discount codes for a new ticket site -- -- which offers tickets for sports/concerts/other events. Anyone can use them, at least until 1/1/08, so you can use them, or tell a friend to use them, or have a friend tell a friend, or whatever. According to that whole 6 degrees of separation thing, it's possible that everyone in the world could learn my discount codes, which by the way are:

MMBLOG1 [$5 off any ticket purchase]
MMBLOG2 [5% off any ticket purchase]
[Yes, you can only use one of them...]

To be clear, I am officially acting as a consultant for the SEM company that is trying to drive traffic to TicketHeroes. I am not getting a direct cut back from sales using these codes. (Though if this experiment is hugely successful, perhaps I'll try to negotiate one!) But I will get back data -- I'll get to see how many sales used the codes. (Don't worry, I won't get your credit card number.) I find this all very interesting. Can this little blog, focusing primarily on academic topics, help sell things? Really? I kind of doubt it, but hey, I remember thinking around the year 1999 that it would be a really impressive thing if Google became a 1 billion dollar company, so clearly I don't know as much as I should about marketing.

I've done my own checks and the site's prices look to be slightly less than or the same as other similar sites, even without the discount. So this should be a win for anyone looking for tickets, although of course you shouldn't trust me, you should compare.

Next post, we'll return to less crass, commercial topics, like how to re-finance your mortgage.


Anonymous said...

one parameter of interest in your experiment: # of hits your blog gets looking for the query "discount code".

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

I'm sure it won't get many from search engine queries; there's a whole industry of web sites collecting discount codes...