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Is Stirring Up Viral Controversy Worth the Risk?

March 5, 2012  

How far would you go to create the sort of shareable content that goes viral? Would you—for instance—risk your reputation with a video that's almost certain to invite accusations of fakery?

In a post at ReelSEO, Jeremy Scott discusses a video that attracted plenty of hits—and skepticism. Did a GForm case really protect an iPad from damage in a 100,000-foot freefall from the edge of space, as the video appeared to document? While many accepted its authenticity, at least a few observers accused the company of staging the result.

"So is it a fake?" writes Scott. "How should I know? That's not even my point. My point is that I can't tell the fakes from the real thing anymore, and neither can you." With advances in technology, he argues, it's just about impossible to settle the argument. And an ongoing, conspiracy-minded debate actually helps the video stay viral—and, possibly sad to say, effective.

"You could have forwarded it because you believed it was a real and amazing stunt," he says. "Or you could have sent it to friends because you're convinced it's an obvious fake and you want their support. Either way ... the video is shared like crazy."

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