Insider #8: Viral Marketing: Let the Fun Begin

When you get tired of watching the markets collapse, go check We’ve posted all of the past Insiders on-line…please pass on the link to anyone that might be interested.

Lessons Learned

Sometimes, when you’re already taking a risk, taking more risks just seems natural. Anybody who’s experienced the pleasures of a casino should know what we’re talking about. Over the last 9 months, we’ve tried to share our MouseDriver risk-taking experience with all of you by putting together and distributing The Insider. Now, in an effort to generate more “buzz” around the product (and to allow others to share in our experience), we are opening up The Insiders to anybody interested. The way we see it, there’s nothing in the past Insiders that can really effect our current business…we’re too far down the line. I mean, who cares if a major distributor reads that we were working out of our kitchen…right? So, all of the past Insiders can be found at Feel free to pass this link on to all of your friends, family, work colleagues and anyone else who you think might be interested in our gig. We’ll keep tabs and let you know how this viral marketing campaign develops.

As part of our marketing campaign, we’ve set up a web affiliate program for MouseDriver. Affiliate programs allow other websites to sell MouseDriver without having to deal with processing the order, holding inventory, shipping product, billing, collecting, etc. An affiliate just puts a picture of MouseDriver on their website that says “Buy Me” and when a visitor clicks on the picture, they are directed to We’re hoping that the affiliate program will help to spread the MouseDriver name, generate more brand awareness and increase sales. The only problem with all of this stuff is that we have to manually approve each website that wants to sell MouseDriver. Otherwise, MouseDriver ends up being sold on random sites that sell stuff like guns and logo’d condoms.

MouseDriver has been generating a ton of interest overseas. While we would love to introduce the product to the whole world, we’re a little hesitant in fulfilling the 10,000 unit order sent to us by a Chinese golf ball manufacturer. Call it a fear of knock-offs, but sacrificing the cash flow right now to maintain our product positioning is well worth it. We’re still sticking with our strategy of finding US distribution first, outsourcing all of the fulfillment crap and focusing on selling/marketing this thing in North America. Not to say that we won’t entertain overseas distribution inquiries (in fact, we have sold very small quantities to European distributors), just want to make sure we focus on the strategy that we set way back in the Summer. Keep the product high-end, maintain the price point and help “pull” the product through the retail channels.

On a more personal note: We are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to make this MouseDriver gig work. Since graduating from Wharton in May, two of our classmates have already sold their .com company’s ($68m and $30M respectively). Every time we hear something like this, we tend to question what we are doing…especially from a financial standpoint. Recently, we’ve fielded a number of questions from friends asking us “Why would you manufacture a computer mouse shaped as the head of a golf driver when everyone else is going into ecommerce and making millions of dollars?” It’s a very thought provoking question and the only real way that we can answer it lies in the quote below:

“If you want to make your dreams come true, you must sacrifice the need to follow.”

What We’ve Done

  • Signed up with Commission Junction to help us manage our affiliate program.
  • Collected on all of our PGA Show sales as well as our outstanding account receivable.
  • Spent 2 hours being interviewed by a major business publication/magazine. Hopefully, if the story does run, we won’t come out of it looking like complete jackasses.
  • Added zip code search functionality and The MouseDriver Insiders to our website. Retailers like the zip code thing because it tells on-line customers where they can purchase off-line.

Priority Goals

  • Initiate a PR campaign that is focused more on business rather than golf publications.
  • Continue to find distributors in other MouseDriver market segments.
  • Find larger office space (preferably for less than the $70/square foot that we’re being quoted out here in the Bay Area).
  • Launch a massive viral marketing campaign.

Mood Meter: Hungry and Motivated


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