Bob Gerstley was among the first to write about algorithms designed to identify people with high "social networking potential."[17] Gerstley employed SNP algorithms in quantitative marketing research. In 2004, the concept of the alpha user was coined to indicate that it had now become possible to identify the focal members of any viral campaign, the "hubs" who were most influential. Alpha users could be targeted for advertising purposes most accurately in mobile phone networks, due to their personal nature.[citation needed]

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The American media critic Douglas Rushkoff was the first to coin the term Viral Marketing in his book ‘Media Virus‘ from 1994. Social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, play an important role in Viral Marketing. Platforms where information can be shared are particularly suited for this type of marketing. The goal is to spread the marketing message like a viral epidemic. That makes Viral Marketing a relatively cheap way to reach a large audience.
I actually spent a year and a half working as an affiliate marketer (mostly selling drumming related products – lessons, kits ect). 5 years on and one of my one page sites (which I’ve not touched) still nets me about $150 a month. I won’t be retiring off that but only really now appreciate the reverse pyramid approach to entrepreneurship (working for nothing initially but later being paid without effort!)
'The influencers in order to communicate marketing messages to the audiences you seek to reach'.[36] In business, it is indicated that people prefer interaction with humans to a logo.[37] Therefore, it seems that influencers are on behalf of a company to build up a relationship between the brand and their customers. Companies would be left behind if they neglected the trend of influencers in viral marketing, as over 60% of global brands have used influencers in marketing in 2016.[38] The influencer types come along with the level of customers' involvement in companies' marketing.[39] First, unintentional influences,[40][39] because of brand satisfaction and low involvement, their action is just to deliver a company's message to a potential user.[41] Secondly, users will become salesmen or promoters for a particular company with incentives.[40][39] For example, ICQ offered their users benefits to create the awareness of their friends. Finally, the mass reached influencers are those who have a huge range of followers on the social network. Recent trend in businesses activity is to offer incentives to individual users for re-posting the advertisement messages to their own profiles. A common type of an incentive puts all the re-posting users into a random draw for a valuable gift [42]
The reason to make use or virality, the ease in spreading and sharing, is however a double-edged sword. We cannot forget that in this type of campaign, a large part of the control falls into the hands of the users, and we risk the message being misinterpreted or parodied. On the other hand, a successful viral campaign can work miracles for your brand’s results.