Yobi.tv :: Proof Positive That Online Viral Marketing Doesn’t Always Work

It especially won’t work if you have a bad product.

I can feel Jen O’Meara’s pain. We likely all can. She has a project she loves and it isn’t going anywhere. Frustration. We’ve all felt it, right?

David Meerman Scott shares A viral marketing story suitable for bedtime. It is a story of disappointment and sadness. But, at least the author, YOBI CIO Jen O’Meara, tries to tell it with a tongue-in-cheek spin.

Jen’s no dummy – you’d think. A Ph.D. under her belt, no less, she’s struggling to get her startup Yobi.tv site off the ground. Yobi.tv claims to be a “unique blend of social networking, reality show contests, and user-generated content (that) will revolutionize the world of online entertainment.” Well, it’s good to have a dream.

I know Jen’s video below reveals that she’s been panned by many. So, a critique of the site may seem like a pile on. Looking at the site and watching the first six bits of random content featured on the front page (it rotates each time you reload the page), it seems to tell (at least part of) the story of Jen’s problems.

First, let’s examine what content greeted me (Warning: Signup required to view):

So, the reality is … Jen’s reality TV ain’t that hot. In fact, it is like 99.999% of that on YouTube and many other video sites. It sucks. It is boring. It is mostly mindless dribble.

There are two blaring, glaring omissions in her site’s setup and philosophy for gaining viewers. I can’t believe she hasn’t spotted them, yet. In fact, it seems she’s so confident in her contests and content … she actually doesn’t want to offer them.

So, what are they? There is no sharing function for embedding the content and sharing it on other sites. Then, and perhaps the goofiest of all, there is a forced registration process. Yep, you can’t see any of the videos unless you sign up! To me, after signing up and looking at the content … well, anyone can see why her site is failing.

You know, Jen, I wouldn’t necessarily blame all the various forms of emerging digital media – or social marketing – for the failure of Yobi.tv to gain traction. Certainly, online marketing doesn’t always work. In Yobi.tv’s case, though, I’d blame a rather un-inviting Web design, a very unattractive logo (what are you, a nuclear reactor?), no clear information upfront about Yobi.tv contests (what Jen declares as her big draw), bland copy and graphics, along with a rather boring overall presentation.

Jen’s YouTube rant about her fate is below. Then, you’ll see her e-book … well, actually just 14 slides in – again – a very bland presentation trying to recite her video in Powerpoint form … yikes! She’s kidding again, of course (I hope). But, now even the joke has grown old and I’ve only known about this for what … 15 minutes?

Jen continually compares her site’s woes to the splendid success of Blendtec’s wildly fun and (here’s a good word for ya’, Jen) relevant content at Will It Blend?

Jen, I’d suggest you (a) take a clue from the Google ad on your site (right) and (b) decide just what it is you’re trying to sell. No, as you suggested in your video, you aren’t giving something away. You’re selling contests, Jen. Face it and work with it.

You’re trying to draw in viewers. But, to what? Sure, you’re giving away up to $10,000 in your contests, but where is the description and snappy copy to lure folks into your contests? Jen, you seem to believe that an offer of money – alone – will do it. Nope, I don’t see it. And, why is your site more relevant (more fun) than the dozens of other video sharing sites? Ooops! Sorry, I forgot. You don’t share! First rule learned in kindergarten (and social media), Jen. Share!

In fact, the best copy on your site is that found in the Google ad for the french fry contest. That’s kinda sad. It is especially sad when you realize what the ad is for, and what it is doing. “Predicto Mobile gives you access to unlimited surveys, votes, and news alerts for $9.99 billed monthly to your mobile phone bill.” Jen, they are charging people $9.99 to participate in mobile phone contests that likely offer a one in a gazillion chance of paying off. I’m willing to bet that Predicto is likely making money, Jen.

Here’s the bottling of the egg on this one. There are dozens of video sharing sites. Most of them are slick and clean in their presentation. They tend to truly feature interesting videos on their front pages. They have easy to understand and follow navigation. And, Jen, here’s the big kicker … on those sites you can actually take the videos/photos and embed them elsewhere. You don’t offer that option, Jen. This was the most glaring omission of all when I first arrived on the site. I can’t believe you actually launched a video sharing site where the only place they can share … is with you! Are you serious?

Jen! Hello? Ya’ can’t go viral if people can’t share your videos and photos. No brainer, Jen. Sorry. You may be your own worst enemy. I’m sorry you’re not having success, but don’t blame it on anyone but your site, your product and your team. You guys are causing your own problems.


0 thoughts on “Yobi.tv :: Proof Positive That Online Viral Marketing Doesn’t Always Work

  1. Robert

    Just so you’ll understand, a supporter of Yobi.tv posted a comment here earlier. She, in her own words, referred to it as a post made out of a bit of anger. Truthfully, from my point of view, it really wasn’t all that bad.

    Today, in retrospect, she has asked to have it taken down.

    I have agreed to do so.

    Truly, I didn’t mind the comment. Hey, we’re exchanging opinions. But, I also recognize that people some times say and write things that later on, they regret. That’s why I’ve accepted her request and removed the comment.

    Isn’t this whole blogging thing kinda silly sometimes? :o)

    Finally, for those blog / conversational purists out there … I also removed my reply. A reply, by the way, that was actually polite and thanked her for the comment.