Link Bait Strategies

Michael Arrington’s (TechCrunch) article today on Fast Company’s hybrid link baiting-pyramid scheme whet my appetite to ferret out a few more innovative “bait” strategies that online businesses and companies are leveraging to drive traffic surges.

Fast Company’s current ploy, dubbed “The Influence Project,” is fairly genius. Moral of the story….appeals to the ego work. Arrington writes:

It’s a contest to find the most influential people online. To compete you give them a picture of yourself and they give you a unique link to Fast Company. To win you get people to click on that link. The more clicks, the bigger your picture gets among the hordes of others….Yes, this is a contest to see who can send the most traffic to Fast Company. And the winner gets to have a big picture in the November print issue.

2. Inc.’s recent article, How to Incorporate Badges Into Your Website offers not only instruction in the creative deployment of virtual “badges,” but also examples of successful online applications. Foursquare, for instance, apparently leads the pack with these gamer type rewards. How do they work? Site visitors win unique badges for various achievements.

Just like the traditional badges used by the Boy Scouts, these digital icons serve as a way to mark achievements. But instead of getting a badge for, say, learning first aid, online users typically earn virtual awards for using a company’s services. For instance, if someone uses Foursquare at five different airports, he or she receives a Jetsetter badge….Video game designers have long used techniques such as badges and trophies to keep players engaged…. Now many start-ups are incorporating these tactics to keep customers coming back for more.

3. When FreeRice.com first launched in 2007 it quickly became a viral sensation. What helped make it so? First, it’s a game. Second, it’s simple. Third, it’s charitable. Fourth, it gives visitors the chance to instantly make tangible and measurable change–(no logins, no accounts to mess with, no contact info to consider exposing).

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