Truly viral products sell themselves through word of mouth and quickly dominate the market. Here are 5 products that truly went viral.
When it was launched in 2004, it was merely a Harvard network and later it spread to Ivy leagues. Within 2005, user count crossed 5 million and by 2008, the users amounted to more than 100 million. To enable Virality, Facebook made accounts closely tied with real identities, made the UI easy to use and maintained a high degree of Signal-to-Spam ratio.
2. XBox 360
This is the biggest product success from a company not much know for its gadgets. Microsoft started a very viral campaign with alternative reality games, in October 2005 and that immediately caught the interest of gamers, worldwide. In the first month of launch, 400,000 units and within the next 3 years, over 9 million Xbox 360 units were sold and became a cornerstone for Microsoft’s consumer devices division.
When Hotmail was launched in 2006, the market had no real free players. Email accounts were associated with the ISPs. However, hotmail disrupted with a free and easy-to-use product. Within a year, the product crossed 8 million users and Microsoft came knocking with a $400 million acquisition.
In 2004, Firefox entered a monopoly browser market, where Internet explorer had 80%+ market share. However, a strong community of connected geeks spread Firefox virally and within a year, the product achieved 100 million downloads – remarkable at that time. To help it go viral, Mozilla used referral points to gamify the system and launched the “Spread Firefox” marketing campaign.
With a 1GB+ storage, Google completely disrupted the market when it entered in 2004. It was a time, when the main incumbent – hotmail and yahoo were providing less than 10MB of storage. Google seeded the market with 1000 Gmail accounts with the ability for each user to invite a limited number of his/her friends. Within 2 years, the user number multiplied to 7 million and in 2012, it had 425 million users.