If you are looking to go viral with your new startup, there are a few strategies you can use to build awareness. One of the less popular models is spamming people. That’s the exact model that Stockr has been implementing to get the word out about their product.

The company prompts you to sync your Google Contacts to find other friends on the site. After “syncing”, the company subsequently blasts out an email to each of your contacts to let them know that you’d like to share your portfolio with them. In fact, this is the first email I received this morning from Paul Singh of Disruption Corporation:


I immediately thought to myself, “Wow, that’s nice of Paul to share his portfolio with me!” I registered and immediately began receiving additional emails from other friends. As soon as I registered I realized what Stockr was doing. To be fair, the strategy is kind of brilliant. If they really wanted to spam in a more elegant way, they would have limited the number of emails to a single email address to one. Unfortunately though, most people have multiple email addresses so it would be quite difficult to account for everybody’s various addresses.

Within hours of receiving this email I started noticing other people who saw Stockr invitations show up in their inbox as well. The result: everybody got spammed. The marketing effort, while effective at getting the company’s name out there, has been far more effective at pissing people off. Just take a look at this sample of tweets in the past couple hours:

Stockr Tweets

Clearly nobody is happy with Stockr and they’ve generated far more bad will than necessary. These approaches to marketing would have worked a decade ago but not today. If you want to be effective with your marketing, don’t take advice from Stockr.