2. Friendly advice prompts sales.
We tend to take our friends' recommendations because we know and trust them. When someone passes along information and suggests you may find it interesting or valuable, chances are, you'll check it out. Is it any wonder that conversion rates are substantially higher than other forms of electronic marketing?
3. Redistribution should be encouraged.
For the content to be redistributed, it myst be formatted correctly. Our technology, for example, serves up previewable content complemented with a toolbar, on which customers will find a button labeled, "Send to a friend." Clicking the button triggers mail copies to the customer's friends and ultimately helps content providers learn more about the flow if content through the information ecology.
4. Industry miseducation must stop!
During Digital Goods' historic e-marketing campaign for Stephen King's e-novella "Riding the Bullet," we surveyed some of our customers. We asked: "What would encourage you to forward Riding the Bullet to others?" Despite our question's pro-redistribution stance, most of our the respondents indicated that they believed redistribution to be wrong. Typical answers included:
"If they paid, too."
"Why would I forward it to someone who didn't pay for it?"
"Only if Stephen King got his royalty."
"Let them buy their own copies."
I'd like to stress that we thought that redistribution would actually increase King's royalty potential, by making it easy for his fans to buy the novella. The lesson is simple and, I hope, clear: "Make copying your friend. Make your friends copy."
Jonathan Schull is a founder and chief scientist of Digital Goods (formerly SoftLock.com), and the author of the company's seminal "passalong patent." A behavioral scientist and pioneer in the field of intellectual property rights management, he studies and promotes the propagation of digital goods.