Viral Marketing Strategies: The Leech Method

May 7, 2008 - Get free updates of new posts here

One of the best and most successful methods of implement viral is what I call the leech method. This is what has made some of the largest and most successful companies ever. How does it work? Great question.

Leech Method: This is creating a viral system on the back of a system that has a crap load of people.

Leech on a Leave (Black background)
link to photo


  • Paypal auto-inserts into eBay.
  • Facebook apps on the back of Facebook
  • Google being used to power Yahoo & AOL (Not really viral but leech method)
  • YouTube creating video flash embeds on MySpace
  • Slide creating instant bulletin posts on MySpace as well.

Currently, many sites encourage people to email their friends (how to get more subscribers on email) and with fingers-crossed those users may come to their site. The leech method goes to the most popular party in the city and starts infecting people there.

What are other sites still available to leech on?

This is part of a series called “Learning Viral”. For the other posts in the series click below:

Learning Viral: What my Brita taught me about Commitment

Learning Viral: Add-on or Natural

Learning Viral: Track Everywhere from

Learning Viral: The Basic Viral Model

Learning Viral: Viral Emails of

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 responses to “Viral Marketing Strategies: The Leech Method

  1. Andrew Laffoon Reply

    Hey Noah,

    Great seeing you at Plug and Play today! Mixbook is very much into the “leech” method for user acquisition – although I don’t know if I want to be known as a leech. 🙂


  2. Anonymous Reply

    My only real reason for wanting to comment was a sort of OCD twitch I got. Call it attention to detail I don’t know. This was written by Noah on the 7th of May, and there are 1 comment. I’m a grammarian.

    Hopefully now there is 2 comments. 😉

  3. Yuval Reply

    Every site out there via widgets 🙂
    Seriously – the whole widget fad is just this – leeching the long tail.

  4. damon billian Reply

    “Google being used to power Yahoo & AOL (Not really viral but leech method)”

    Also one of the biggest blunders ever made by Yahoo;-)

    That being said, viral products also have to have mass appeal to everyone. PayPal worked well with eBay because it solved a problem in their marketplace (immediate payments) that wasn’t addressed by their other solution (Billpoint).