ViralURL is Virally Filling Up my Inbox!

By Ian Fernando

The other day Simon pointed me out to a website called ViralUrl. I was interested and curious on the concept on how this will work. The system is a url/link cloaking concept but with a twist, there is a bar either at the top or on the bottom with the ViralUrl button.

The unique thing about this is the affiliate URL is cloaked (as if it is in a frame) but if the buyer decides not to buy the desired affiliate product they may be looking at the ViralUrl button or an advertiser in the middle. A person earns credit by either clicking on the an advertisers link, earning credits can get you more visibility and maybe even access to a bigger lists, not really sure.

The really neat thing about this system is if someone clicks on ViraUrl via the toolbar and signs up, that person becomes a prospect or lead to you. This allows you to easily build your list with ease. Now if that person promotes ViralUrl or uses it cloak one of their affiliate links and someone signs up for ViralUrl, that person also becomes part of your list. (am I confusing you) That means you can have a huge list by simply just cloaking your list. I believe the system allows you to get users list up to 5 deep, yes this is similar to a tier system. Here is a better explanation, watch video:

The Very Bad Part:

I have only played with ViralUrl for about 10 minutes. I found it to be a great idea then a couple days after, yesterday, and now this morning - spam with affiliate links in them: I started to get piss because I went straight to ViralUrl and not via a bar. So I was confused on how the system really worked.My inbox literally had about 10 emails promoting something recent or a popular product with the url format above. I was beginning to think how is this so, I started to read ViralUrl but found nothing on how someone would have access to email me, maybe the premium upgrade? Not really sure. I went to my account and logged in and tried to find an option to remove myself from this attack, I found nothing.

Take a look at my Spam Box alone! I specifically searched for ViralUrl because it would be in the email body since the cloaking is under ViralUrl.

That is a lot of email that I receive which I did not optin to or participated in. I mean all I did was sign up under a free account and not via a bar, which would either put me under 5 tiers deep with a member. I am assuming this is for the upgraded pro version. So I decided to look into these emails, usually I should be able to opt-out, according to the CAN-Spam Act.

It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a "menu" of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender.

Guess what I found at the bottom of the footer email:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

By signing up as a ViralURL member on 01/31/2008 you agreed to receive this email at [email protected].

To stop getting further emails, you need to upgrade or delete your ViralURL account.

To do that please login at and click on the delete account link in the Edit Account section or click on the Upgrade button.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I need to upgrade! What kind of Force marketing is this! Forcing users to upgrade is an okay marketing tactic, but pisses people off like me. If there was a limit it would have been better, maybe even just adjust who can send to me or if I earn credits etc. But forcing users to upgrade to use a unique system, just so they do not receive tons of spam! There needs to be a better system to handle this. The CAN-Spam Act plays part in this, because I can not opt out from the users sending the email I just get mail from the central server! BAH!

Reading some of the emails, the bodies of emails were just poorly done and poorly written, not that I am an expert copywriter, but it seems that this is a way for people to attack and get a huge lists with no problem. Some emails were lengthy while others had a 'Hi' and then a link, WTF, honestly! I do email marketing but I gain my prospect honestly and do not make horrible messages to my readers or community.

The system is a great concept, it just need to think a little bit thorough so users that find this entertaining and helpful will not leave because of the simple annoyance of multiple spam!

So what did I do, I deleted my account and I am now ever happy. 🙂

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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