How Plaxo Crossed the Tipping Point and Avoided the Fate
of the Ebola Virus. This case study details the viral
marketing campaign of Plaxo, Inc., a company that
provides internet-based updating of personal contact
information. The experiences of Plaxo highlight that
even with an inherently viral product, viral-growth is
not guaranteed. It can require substantial management.
The case discusses how such management was done at Plaxo
by focusing on a simple viral marketing equation, V= N *
Cr, where the two key variables are: N = Number of
messages sent and Cr = Conversion Rate of a message.
Product features that affected this viral equation were
identified and improved with experimentation. In short
order, these improvements cumulated to push the company
past the tipping point. However, the pursuit of
aggressive viral growth can have negative side effects.
The company employed a carefully crafted feedback loop
via internet alert services that tapped into the blog
community. This allowed management to better understand
negative perceptions of the product and particularly to
turn around critics quickly before their impact got out
of control. 2007