I was milling around the Internet the other day, considering Gabe’s recent comments about buzz. He mentioned briefly that he thought I’m Too Fragile For This‘s rough start, had damaged its initial buzz and therefore total views. It got me thinking about buzz. Comedy TV is Dead assures you that if you’re going to make a success of your video content you are going to need some form of buzz. Buzz begets buzz, but what gets it going? In that moment, as if by fate I ran into an advertisement on YouTube promising to do just that.

As It turns out it wasn’t fate. Virools ads are appearing everywhere all of a sudden. You may not know much about Virool the “social video advertising platform”, but the chances are you’ve seen one of the many ads they have been running for their service since the online marketing company raised $6.62 Million in funding last February.

Virool is all about getting your video content seen. It can display your YouTube video on its partnered publishers’ blogs, social networks and mobile apps. Tailored to your specifications, Virool allows you to choose what interests, ages, countries and which gender to advertise to as well as asking how much you’d like to spend per video view. It’s not interrupting people with your ad in the same way most video advertising is, they’re simply putting your video in the eye-line of someone who may be interested.

What really sets Virool apart from other established players in the same field is its flexibility. Offering users the ability to theoretically launch a campaign for as little as $10 (compared to Unruly Media’s $100,000 entry price). Virool’s pitch is appealing to just about anybody with a YouTube video they want seen.

Finally, a service that lets me target the elusive, Indonesian 65 and over market.

Finally, a service that lets me target the elusive, Indonesian 65 and over market.

It’s a simple but marvelous idea. Unlike a preroll ad that users learn to ignore, this is an opportunity for a viewer who wouldn’t otherwise know you exist to see and maybe interact with your video.

I was immediately excited by the idea and how it might kickstart the views and sharing of a video. I even started to look at the publisher section of their site, wondering if it would be a good fit for Comedy TV is Dead.


However, when I looked for other peoples comments on Virool, outside of big name advertisers such as Intel, Sony, Pepsi, T-Mobile and the like there are very few stories circulating of Virool’s success, and quite a large number of angry and resentful anecdotes claiming the service to be totally useless.

There are also quite a few testimonials that look incredibly fake (bottom of page, you decide). It quickly becomes apparent that people are paying into Virool with certain expectations that aren’t being met.

These are the top results of page 1

These are the top results of page 1

The number one complaint from the numerous bloggers, forum goers and commentators upset with Virool is – when you get down to it – that their $10 campaign didn’t go viral – something Virool co-founder Alexander Debelov addressed when speaking with TechCrunch –

“We can’t guarantee your video will go viral because it all depends on your content, but we can get it in front of a million, two million, half a million, whatever your budget is – we can get you in front of that audience.”

It’s a completely reasonable statement for Debelov to make; but it’s one that sits at odds with the company’s very deliberately constructed brand image (see ad below) as well as being disingenuously quiet about the cash involved in getting your video in front of a million or more eyeballs through their expensive “self serve” service. Going by the recommended 10¢ a click, 2 million views courtesy of Virool is going to set you back $200,000. Here you can find a post about 10 Famous Celebrities Getting Into Web Series.

What does that mean for Virool and the “little guys” they’re advertising to and who might want to use the service? What it means is precisely what it says, nothing more and nothing less.

For $10 Virool can bring you about a hundred, reasonably well targeted and authentic views. If you’re trying to make money off your series, short film or video then this is a worthless proposition. However, the service isn’t entirely without merit. If you’ve got deep pockets (maybe money left over from a successful Kickstarter or some particularly prudent filmmaking), and your objective is to build a brand then spending money on a Virool campaign can clearly help get your message out.

YouTube Vlogger PhilipRayTyson puts it best in his overview of the service below when he says – “If you’re in this just for the views, then man, you must really like numbers, because you’re paying for it”.

To put it differently, Virool is not a scam, but it’s not a magical blue goo that will turn you into a superstar either.



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