The Virus You Want to Catch

I’m starting a new experiment tonight that I’d like to have some fun with over the coming weeks, but there’s a catch – I’m going to need some help from you, my critical-thinking, curious readers. Essentially, I want to launch a viral linking campaign with some pretty loose guidelines for the links. I’ve constructed this in such a way that I (or anyone else who’s interested) will be able to monitor the progress of the experiment as it (hopefully) spreads across the blogosphere.

The Finer Points

The experiment, henceforth referred to as “The Indie Virus,” has two goals:

  • To bring exposure to lesser known blogs (especially those outside of Technorati’s top 100)
  • To explore the metrics behind a viral linking campaign launched by the “little guys” (less popular blogs)

Instead of rehashing the ideas here, I’ll send you on over to Copyblogger to see how this thing progressed in the comments. I think people are skeptical, but the bottom line is that this is just a casual experiment. Launching it doesn’t really cost a thing, so why not try it? I’m just hoping for enough results that I’ll be able to crunch a few numbers. Consider it an experiment in marketing with blogs.

The Rules

Participating in The Indie Virus is easy. All you’ve got to do is link to lesser known blogs from within a post (or two, or eleventeen), but you have to make sure that the anchor text of your link is The Indie Virus. This is critical, because in order to track the experiment, I’ll be searching for the phrase “The indie Virus” on common engines like Technorati, Google, and Yahoo! Oh, and also, make sure that you link directly to a post WITH A TRACKBACK and not to the site itself – it speaks louder!

So, a sample link would be coded up like this:

<a href="...">The Indie Virus</a>

Got it?

The Kickoff

Since I came up with this thing, it’s only right that I kick it off with the first link. Today, I came across a site that combines intelligence, insight, and design in a clean, interesting package. Among the gold at this site is an article that I think is perfect for the spread of The Indie Virus [ed: link removed]. Go check it out, and then go and spread The Indie Virus yourself!

And if you want to be wicked cool, send a trackback to this post in your inaugural Indie Virus post. Have fun with this one, and I’ll keep you posted on the results.

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18 comments… read them below or add one

IrishWonder March 11, 2006

Hey Chris, count me in like I said before and I’ll be posting a piece on the Indie Virus tonight on my blog


raj March 11, 2006

Chris: I like your Indie Virus idea, but why did you not make it, say, a technorati tag? It’s going to be awkward always making this phrase the anchor text. I’ll give it try, but certainly you could still track metrics for the tag?


Chris P. March 12, 2006

Raj – you’re totally right. I figured that using the phrase as the anchor text would help it with the Googles and Yahoos of the world, too.

I like your idea, though. Tag it up!


Nao March 19, 2006

Very interesting. I’m interested to see how this goes.


Evan March 22, 2006

I agree, should def. use a technorati tag too. And it’d be a good idea to put something in the “title” parameter of the anchor.

<a href=”…” title=”the great American indie virus”>The Indie Virus</a>


Chris P. March 22, 2006

Good call, Evan. Your site is wicked, too, by the way. I felt compelled to scroll and read, scroll and read, scroll and read. Love it!


Frank March 28, 2006

Though no one infected us – we saw the link at Open Switch – we continued the infection process on our site by infecting 10 other blogs. I hope it works well and gets them all some notice as they deserve it.


jac April 1, 2006

no one infected me, but i thought it was a hot idea. here’s my trackback:


Robin April 2, 2006

Ever heard about Blog.Worm? See, a similar experiment :)


Fattori Arcani April 6, 2006

i’m infected by the indie virus! ;)


Vicki April 7, 2006

I agree re: the technorati tag. Call e a purist but I want my anchors to relate to what they reference. So I would anchor to “article” or “this site” but “Indie Virus” wuld come back to this page, always (or to the Technorati page as they did it on


Vicki April 7, 2006

Does anyoe else cringe when they see “virus” used in this manner. People, viruses are Bad News. Medically, they are bad. in the Windows and IT worlds they are bad. Even Mac users know that they might get one Some Day and that would be A Bad Thing.

Techies like us may be able to compartmentalize, see the joke, understand the satire in using the word “virus” but will my Mom understand? My lesws thecnical friends? The newspaper reporter?

Sheesh. “Virus”. :-(


graemephillipsuk April 11, 2006


ive done exactly what’s been said here… all for this social experimentation stuff and will be monitoring it as close as possible.. hope it works..




Joaquin Ruiz April 20, 2006

Many people is getting afraid with this kind of “virus”

If you want to check your computer, run



harponet May 16, 2006

The Idea about The Indie Virus is very good. I’ll try it too.


Bibingioy Alext January 25, 2008

I’ve just been letting everything happen without me these days, but I guess it doesn’t bother me. I can’t be bothered with anything these days. Nothing seems important, but what can I say? So it goes.


Dominic March 17, 2008
Dennis July 27, 2010

Going to have to try this out. Thank You. May as well start here with a link to my lesser known blog.

Who Wants To Know About The Indie Virus.

Perhaps I should link it to a post similar to yours about the Indie Virus. Nice project.


Hoot and/or Holler

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