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Nobody wants to talk about something if everyone is talking about it

One of the great ironies of word of mouth is that we don’t want to talk about popular things. We want to be special. We want to be first. We want to be smarter.

How did Gmail get so big? Because you were only allowed to invite 5 friends.

Customers suddenly felt important. They had the power to decide which friends got an invitation. They made sure that those friends really signed up, so no invitation was wasted. It felt good to be an insider.

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Comments

  1. Josh Duncan January 16, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    Andy,

    Thanks for the post. Makes complete sense that customers want to be special and share something that others have not heard of before.

    I was just wondering if you think that limiting the roll out of something (for example – using invitations) can backfire on you at some point? If that invitation never comes I can see some customers starting to get annoyed and lose interest before evening engaging.

    How to you make sure people feel special without taking it so far that people start feeling left out?

    Thanks again,

    Josh

  2. Rishi January 16, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    I’ve ‘starred’ this article on my Google Reader.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Being Blonde » Blog Archive » Monetising content - January 19, 2010

    […] maybe not based on this final post by Andy Sernovitz – “Nobody wants to talk about something if everyone is talking about […]

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