Don't be a tool of viral marketing
There are a lot of brands that have taken over the meaning of the product. We've had Jell-o and Band-Aids instead of gelatin and bandages for years. We now have Google instead of searching (it was Yahoo, but these things change).
Now there are a lot of people trying to grab hold of simple web activities and make their brand synonymous with simple technology. Just as AOL was once email, Wordpress is now blogging, and my favorite snippet of technology that's become a brand is the TinyUrl concept.
Every time I post something on at bissellator.wordpress.com and announce it to the world, I promote Wordpress. Every time I shorten an URL using TinyUrl from something like http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/mac/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212500783&subSection=News to http://tinyurl.com/5aobpk I'm promoting TinyUrl.
Much better for my brand is to use conquent.com/bissellator/ or shorten my URL to http://t.conquent.com/N000.
You may argue that developing such technology locally is expensive and "why reinvent the wheel?" First off, most of this technology isn't that tough to build. We're talking web tools we could have built back in 1997. And we did build them in 1997.
Secondly, you nick the skin of your brand slightly each time you send some of your audience through tinyurl or to wordpress.com. Like the matador and the bull, you slowly lose your own brand integrity and people see more value in the tools you don't own than in the things you're trying to promote.
Install tools on your server when you can. And look at the technology you're "micro-promoting" to see how valuable that tool is, and how easy it would be to have your own version or copy. It may not be for everyone, but if you're serious about building your brand, don't tear it apart with a million tinyurl cuts along the way.
I've been asked by a couple people how hard it was to set up t.conquent.com, and the answer was, kind of, but not impossible. Which led to the obvious question, can we do it for others?
Pretty much anything you see us do at Conquent is something we're able and willing to do for others. With our Quickieweb Technology, Quickelist Email Service, and a wide range of complex programming projects (e.g. GMS Products, Tech Hero and American Dream Planner), we've got the tools, you just need to let us know what you're looking for.