(Fox Weekly) — A marketing firm has recently made a name for itself. The firm and their viral campaigns have appeared on worldwide news outlets for months now. The marketing company became notorious after a list of impressive viral campaigns that received a significant number of international news, radio and magazine appearances.
After a massive number of viral exposures, Swenzy viral marketers have demonstrated their skilled capabilities. The firm went under the name “SocialVEVO“, before re-branding to its current name. This same marketing firm is also behind YouTube scandals within the music industry. Swenzy practices unique social media marketing tactics that are labeled as “Viral Marketing”.
These social media marketing companies like Swenzy have become a controversial topic in recent years. Manufacturing fame is not new and there are conspiracies that celebrities that we all worship, could have once been a customer of these marketing companies.
Since the dawn of social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, marketers have attempted to find ways to increment numbers. With YouTube being the most powerful tool in the music industry today, some individuals have found ways to increase social numbers using advanced marketing methods. One would call this form of marketing “cheating”, but others would call it “GENIUS”.
The Multi-Million Dollar YouTube Business
When we looked behind the scenes of how these YouTube video views were generated, we found out that this type of job is extremely technical. Not just anyone can find ways to increment YouTube views, and the ones who do, are extremely talented programmers or very intellectual marketing thinkers. YouTube performs updates on their servers on a daily to monthly basis. This gives marketers an advantage and at the same time, a disadvantage.
A popular view method titled “mobile views”, took over the YouTube black market in 2012. It’s still being used today, but in lower quantities.
Back in 2012, tens of millions of viewers were possible a day. A notorious view exploiter known as “SPK”, boosted a YouTube video in 2011 to over 100 million views, in only a few days. This type of exploiting is significant and demonstrates the true power of ‘outside the box’ marketers. It’s crazy to think that the average person does not have any knowledge of buying or inflating views.
That would cause the person to think that the video is popular when it’s really not. What would be the outcome? The video would be shared like if it was ‘viral’ and in time would genuinely start to go viral. Many of these marketers say the purpose of inflating views is to jumpstart a video so it can get news coverage and trend relatively ‘easy’.
“You can’t publish a video with 10 views and expect it to take off without any form of marketing. That’s why we created ‘the viral effect’, a very effective marketing strategy being used by the biggest corporations, business, brands, music labels and even politicians”, (Swenzy co-founder) JUICE says.
It kind of makes sense, but it will have to depend on what type of video gets inflated. The fellow black hatter SPK was supposedly contracted by VEVO to inflate all their music channels. Channels that reportedly included: T-Pain, Chris Brown, Avril Lavigne…etc. According to YouTube’s statistics, after the big inflation, the views of those channels started to skyrocket by the millions.
There are some suspicious statistics in many VEVO channels which could back this claim, but still this subject continues to be ignored by music giants. The YouTube views business is a multi-million dollar market, which has increased over the years. The infamous ‘mobile views’ method was patched in 2012. That same year, a View Count Policy scandal had taken place. About 2 billion YouTube video views had been deleted. The affected ones were regular users and major record label channels such as Sony, Universal and even RCA. The reason for the big disappearance of views, according to YouTube, was due to ‘enforcement of their view count policies’. Google had received thousands of forum messages regarding users videos and channels being taken down for ‘gaming’ their view system. A few days later, Billboard had announced that, the reason for the deleted views was because of VEVO migration. That story was never confirmed by YouTube.
That lead to many conspiracies that something suspicious is going on behind closed doors between these viral marketers and high-level music managers/executives. One interesting thing is that when Billboard responded for the missing 2 billion YouTube views, they were also in talks with YouTube about implementing views to their Hot 100 chart system. Why didn’t the record labels respond to the media attack? Why Billboard had to speak for Sony, Universal and RCA? The story kind of died after that Billboard announcement and a cover-up was implemented.
Swenzy’s 2013 Viral Hoax Spree
A new year had approached, 2013 was set to be an interesting year for social media. 2013 is also the year “SocialVEVO” or Swenzy was established. Although, Swenzy says they were running under the name ‘Adixy‘, before 2013. Regardless if Adixy was the original company name, when they were branded as SocialVEVO, the company had hit the news media spotlight. It started in Septemeber of 2013, SocialVEVO (former brand name) had created a viral hoax campaign known as “#Opblackout”, their first ever viral campaign. The hoax was a countdown website claiming World War 3 was approaching. The website had an anonymous logo and the firm went as far as creating a fake Syrian Electronic Army Facebook page to promote it.
Within just a few days, the site had been picked up on various news outlets, that talked about SEA. The Facebook fan page even received thousands of likes from people who thought the page had belonged to SEA.
The fan page even caught the attention of Alessandra Mesa, a Vocativ news reporter. The reporter had interviewed the owner of the page on Skype to write an article about the Syrian Electronic Army. The person who Alessandra was chatting with, went by the name of ‘Richie Romero’. Richie is known as one of the ‘founders’ of the notorious marketing firm, Swenzy. At the time, SocialVEVO, nor their marketing tactics had been exposed.
Richie went as far as promoting their viral campaign ‘#Opblackout’ in the interview. We now know that “Richie” is not a real person but a character played by one of the founders of Swenzy.
Within hours, the Syrian Electronic Army was notified through email about the countdown website and the fake Facebook page. SEA had confirmed that the website Opblackout.com and the Facebook page, was a hoax via Twitter.
— SyrianElectronicArmy (@Official_SEA16) September 11, 2013
All of the forums and social media sites covering the mysterious website had died down. The website domain and hosting server www.opblackout.com, was shut down by the FBI within a week.
Months go by, and the marketing firm launches various other viral hoaxes such as Remember The 13th, Brian’s Announcement, Rockstar Announcement, Dawn of 2014 and 231134421. All of their hoaxes had received news coverage in some way. 2 of their hoaxes, Remember The 13th & Brian’s Announcement, had received worldwide notability and ended up becoming one of the biggest viral campaign hoaxes of 2013. The Brian’s Special Announcement hoax managed to slither into a massive list of leading news outlets like CNN, TIME, Gawker, Fox News, ET, People, Wall Street Journal, Xfinity, Rolling Stone…etc.
Brian’s Special Announcement was confirmed a viral hoax by FOX & Century 21st producers within 4 hours of launch. It was Swenzy’s most covered viral hoax, so far. The site was reportedly receiving over 1k social shares per minute and was being reported by thousands of news sites per hour, while a Google report confirms that this viral hoax, impressively, managed to receive news coverage by ‘every’ country on the planet.
This is one of the rarest and possibly only viral phenomena to achieve such internet exposure.
Almost all of Swenzy’s hoaxes involved countdowns or spreading useless information around the web. Of course, nobody knew who were behind all of these hoaxes.
In December of 2013, Fernando Alfonso III, a reporter for The Daily Dot exposes SocialVEVO or Swenzy. After the report hit news, all hell broke loose. The reporter had investigated the marketing company and was even reached out by an ex-employee of the marketing firm. With so much information that the reporter had gathered, there was still many questions that lingered.
The mysterious marketing company had done a good job to cover their tracks. Swenzy had one more viral hoax under their sleeves that same month. Just before new years, Swenzy had launched their final viral hoax. ‘Dawn of 2014’ is considered the last viral hoax from Swenzy to date. When the clock hit January 1st, 2014, Swenzy had unexpectedly stopped performing viral hoaxes.
Although the company had stopped with their viral tactics, their social services were still running strong. Around the same time they had stopped doing viral hoaxes, an ex-employee of Swenzy stated that they were contacted by a VEVO attorney to give up the domain SocialVEVO. They have yet to let go of the domain, socialvevo.com redirects to Swenzy. The Daily Dot contacted VEVO regarding SocialVEVO and they responded saying, they were going to enforce their trademark.
The ex-employee of Swenzy says that VEVO just said that to ‘throw the press off their backs’. “Affiliations within VEVO uses Swenzy, they will never shut down their main marketers”, says a Swenzy ex-employee. Weeks have passed by and the marketing firm had been quiet. In mid-January 2014, their YouTube services had gone down for weeks, stating that YouTube servers are acting up. A few days later, Swenzy had inflated The Daily Dot & Vocativ’s twitter profiles with fake Twitter followers.
The Daily Dot stated, the inflation could have been a form of retaliation for their 2013 investigation article. So far, only 3 founders are labeled to be part or once was part of the notorious marketing company: Jacob, Jose & Richie. The purpose of the viral hoaxes have yet to be explained, and the company is speculated to have a net worth of about $1.4 million USD, as of April 2014. What ever the case might have been with Swenzy and their viral tactics, they still take the throne as one of the most notorious marketing companies ever.
Reported by Danny Rogers