Turn Current Events Into Linkbait
Last Tuesday, TechCrunch published a post titled “In Our Inbox: Hundreds Of Confidential Twitter Documents.” In the post, Michael Arrington explained that they had received 310 different corporate and personal Twitter documents from a hacker. Over the next two days, they published several of these documents, including Twitter’s financial forecast and internal strategy. Because these were confidential documents, these posts generated a lot of attention and controversy.
Although TechCrunch obviously attracted a lot of traffic and links by publishing these documents, they weren’t the only ones to benefit. Another person who took advantage of this situation was Alex Tew. If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because of his famous MillionDollarHomePage project. Alex decided to take this situation and turn it into linkbait by creating a Flash game called The EV Files.
Like many Flash games, The EV Files is quite simple to play. You have thirty seconds to throw iPhones at an alien version of Michael Arrington (who pops up at different locations on the screen) and hit him as many times as possible.
In addition to being viral simply because it is an entertaining Flash game, when you finish playing the game, you are given the opportunity to Tweet your score (as seen below). Not only does this help attract more players, but it also provides a link back to the website.
Although it has only been on the Internet for a week, Yahoo Site Explorer is already showing that it has attracted 149 links. In addition to attracting links from prominent sites like the BBC, the site has also received exposure from popular Twitterers like Robert Scoble and Om Malik.
So, what are the value of these links? Well, currently the site is linked to one of Alex’s other projects, which is called PopJam. And although Alex sold a Flash game that was similar to this one for nearly $8,000, since The EV Files have attracted some quality links, it would make sense for him to do a 301 redirect of the site to his PopJam site in a few months when interest in the game has fallen off so that he can take advantage of the links he has gotten.