Viral video clip featuring iPod's dirty secret gets seen by 100.000 people in just 48 hours

In todays world can a single unhappy customer make enough noise to get heard worldwide ? Perhaps even by a big international company ?

As the numbers below show the answer is probably yes - at least if he knows how to use the internet and weblogs as means to get the word out...

The current example for this little case study: iPodsDirtySecret.com !

The creator of this site was told by the Apple support hotline to dump his 18 months old iPod, because its battery died and it would be to expensive to replace it. The best remedy according to the hotline: buy a new one !? Quite obviously not a very satisfying solution for someone who bought a premium priced mp3-player, which was supposed to be insanely great - in every aspect.

So this once satisfied customer got a little mad and set up a site which features a three minutes long homemade video clip.

In it you first hear a recording of the actual conversation with the Apple support guy. After this the reaction of the now unsatisfied customer gets documented: he roams the streets of New York (?) and spraypaints "iPod's Unreplaceable Battery Lasts Only 18 Months." on every iPod ad poster he can find.

Although the spraypainting thing is somewhat politically incorrect, it's still a great way to let off some steam. But when I saw the clip for the first time I wondered how successful it will really be.

So I monitored the counter on the site for the last three days:

Dan Gillmor was one of the first bloggers to write about it. When he did, less than 2000 people had seen the site. After that the URL was spread quickly through the blogosphere - with a little help from the usual suspects, like Blogdex, Technorati, Popdex or Metafilter.

Less than 12 hours later the site already had more than 15,000 hits - at a rate of 71 hits per minute. The rate rose to more than 2 hits per second during Monday night. The 100,000 mark was passed on Tuesday at around 5 PM CET - an estimated 48 hours after the site went live.

Now - again about 24 hours later - the counter stands at 175,105, while the video clip is no longer available. On average, the message was communicated worldwide around the clock to one person every second for nearly three days !!

That's quite a reach for that single unhappy customer, isn't it ?



By the way: Ironically Apple started an official program to replace the iPod battery just a few days ago:
"If your iPod fails to hold a charge and it's more than a year old, you may need a new battery. Click Continue to order iPod battery service for $99 USD, plus shipping and applicable sales tax."
So now you actually can get a new battery without loosing the warranty. But - as always - there is a catch:
"This program is not available in Europe at this time!"
Well, looks like the European iPods still have a dirty secret that should get revealed and there are countless iPod ad posters in Hamburg right now !! So lets get a spray can !!! ;-))