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Viral Marketing on the Internet

Part 4. Advertising and Integrated Communication

  1. Petya Eckler1,
  2. Shelly Rodgers2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem04009

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Eckler, P. and Rodgers, S. 2010. Viral Marketing on the Internet. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 4.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA

  2. 2

    Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia, MO, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Viral marketing includes a broad range of online word-of-mouth strategies aimed to encourage peer-to-peer communication about a brand. The origination of this tactic dates back to 1996 and has gained increased popularity since then. Unique to viral marketing is its focus on the message (vs the product) and emotional (vs informational) appeals. Viral marketing has unique benefits and drawbacks. Advantages include reduced cost of promotion, increased credibility, increased visibility, decreased interruption, and improved format flexibility. Disadvantages include reduced control of the marketer, increased reliance on consumers' motivation, and increased risk of negative reactions.


  • viral;
  • eWOM;
  • word-of-mouth;
  • peer-to-peer;
  • buzz