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Publisher's Summary

Many of the most successful Web 2.0 companies, including MySpace, YouTube, eBay, and rising stars like Twitter and Flickr, are prime examples of what journalist Adam L. Penenberg calls a "viral loop" - to use the product means having to share it with others. After all, what's the sense of being on Facebook if none of your friends are? The end result is a business that spreads rapidly, scales quickly, and has the promise to create staggering wealth.

In this game-changing, essential book, Penenberg - who identified the phenomenon in a ground-breaking cover story for Fast Company - tells the fascinating, vivid story of the entrepreneurs who first harnessed the unprecedented potential of viral loops to create the successful online businesses (some with billion-dollar valuations) that we have all grown to rely on.

While Viral Loop is fascinating for Penenberg's savvy, incisive explanation of the concept, it's even more valuable for its prescriptive nature. Throughout the book, Penenberg explains how any kind of business can uncork viral loops to benefit its own bottom line, even retrofitting the concept for the offline world.

Penenberg explores viral loops and their impact on contemporary American business, while illustrating how all kinds of businesses---from the smallest start-ups to nonprofit organizations to the biggest multinational corporations---can use the paradigm-busting power of viral loops to enable their business through technology.

©2009 Adam Penenberg; (P)2009 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"In tight, engaging prose, Adam captures the essence of the ever-scaling power of the virus. It's not just for geeks anymore." (Seth Godin, author of Tribes)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
  • Andrew
  • West Palm Beach, Florida United States
  • 05-26-10

Good content, but a tough listen...

I found the book quite interesting and informative. Its not really a how to, but more of a history lesson of sorts. It moved quickly and there was not a lot of repetition, which it seems is quite common these days. I felt like I had a good grasp of viral networking from 5000 feet when I was done.

My mediocre rating was solely due to the narration. When reading a book, its critical to respect the punctuation. The narrator basically rambled through chapter headings, title breaks and paragraph breaks. It was very difficult to follow and keep it all in context when seemingly the book was just a series of sentences...

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 05-16-10

Misleading Title

The title of this book suggests it is about how to set up a viral marketing campaign. In reality, it is a very lengthy history of viral marketing. If viewed in that light, it is somewhat interesting and might merit at least a three star ranking. If you are looking for a "how to" book, this is not the one for you.

The narration by Richard Allen really drags the book down. Yes, I know he has a familiar voice and I know he has been nominated for awards. However, Mr. Allen has an almost comical tendency to mangle words. If Mr. Allen does not know how to pronounce a word (or someone's name), he just mispronounces it and goes on. And he mangles a lot of words. This leads to a really shoddy production value that, to me anyway, is pretty irritating for a premium-priced audiobook.

If the producer had reviewed Mr. Allen's work and had him re-record the mangled parts, it would have greatly helped the audiobook. Apparently, however, no one cared enough to do this.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fire the narrator please.

What would have made Viral Loop better?

I would have listened to this whole book if the guy didn't sound like he was reading Clifford the Big Red Dog.

What didn’t you like about Richard Allen’s performance?

The whole time. It's like he doesn't even understand what he's reading. It's just worthless exaggerated inflection for effect.

Any additional comments?

My beef is not with the content. The book has merit, just not this narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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not about vital loops

20% of book is about Viral companies (not how to make a viral company). 80% of the book is crap rabbit tails that waste your time.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not a How-To

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

History buffs

Any additional comments?

Don't expect any actionable tips or recommendations. It's really just a bunch of stories talking about how companies like Facebook made it big, but (frustratingly) it doesn't go into any details of implementation. It's not at all a how-to for entrepreneurs. It's more of an academic and historic account of several companies that grew at an exponential rate. The place where it DOES go into great detail is with colorful but less useful stories about the founders and companies themselves... not how they did what they did, just the results they got.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Mispronounced

Overall, this is a great read.

If you don't mind listening to an endless list of mispronounced words, then please don't hesitate to get this book.

Personally, I found it to be distracting. Especially in technical non-fiction.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Great book - horrible recording quality

Its a great book but the sound quality is so bad it ruins the experience. Huge Audible fan and I listen to books every day when I am on the go. Even on the loudest setting on my Iphone I couldn't hear what he was saying - additionally the volume fluctuates strongly.
In conclusion: Great book - but if you like to listen to audible in places that are not completely quiet: dont get it.