Avril LavigneWhat do John Edwards, the Chinese Olympic Gymnastics Team, and certain fans of Avril Lavigne have in common?

They all may be involved in cheating.

The difference is, the Avril Lavigne fans haven’t technically cheated.  They used “cheating” to promote a viral marketing campaign.  So far, it’s worked.  They’re now #1.

For a long, long time, the innovative and clever “Evolution of Dance” video has held the top spot as the most watched video ever on YouTube.  It features a man, Judson Laipply, performing a dance routine on stage that is, as many have called it, absolutely brilliant.  In 6 minutes and through cuts of 35 songs, Laipply makes up for questionable dance skills with a creative blend of humor and physical exertion.  The end result is something completely original, though it has been copied many times over recent years.


Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend video is a music video.  It is somewhat provocative, which helped it to acquire its initial blast of 50 million+ views, but overall, it is nothing exceptional.  Don’t tell that to the fans who are trying to propel it to 100,000,000 views faster than any other video.  One way or another, they plan on pushing the video over the top.

Already, the video has taken the top spot.  Currently, it has 97,462,978 compared to Laipply’s 96,188,641.  Was there an influx of Avril Lavigne fans who have stumbled upon the video?  No.  AvrilBandAids.com created a way to “cheat” the YouTube system by refreshing the video every 15 seconds.  When fans opened a browser with the page on it, they would, in theory, help promote the video by “viewing” it over 5,000 times per day.

Several major online publications picked up on the “cheat” and cried foul.  What they didn’t know was that YouTube caps its views per IP to 200 per day.  That wouldn’t have been enough to push the video over the top.  Luckily for AvrilBandAids, their goal wasn’t to cheat to the top.  They pretended to cheat to get publicity for the site, thus pushing it to the top virally.

In other words, they used the reporting of the cheating to do the cheating for them.  The publicity was enough to push it closer to 100,000,000 and passed the champ.

While I don’t necessarily approve of the tactics, you have to admit that the effort itself was pretty darn clever.

YouTube Most Viewed

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Read more about Viral Marketing on this blog.

***UPDATE***

Posted in a comment on the Digg submission of this story was a link to a video explaining it all.  Thank you, alpinedigital!

Written by JD Rucker
+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.