The Viral Marketing Behind Blackra1n

Apple App Store
Photo: Wiki

One of the problems with Apple’s App Store is that it doesn’t have every application that users desire. Third party software writers have come to the rescue with “jailbreaks” – software that allows iPhone or iPod Touch users to download non-Apple-sanctioned apps.

If you are a dedicated iP-something user then this is not news to you. What is interesting is the method that one jailbreaker used to viral his software.

George Holtz released his latest jailbreaking application, “Blackra1n,” on 11 Oct 2009 by asking thousands of the readers of his blog On The iPhone to tweet the subject “#blackra1n” and if he saw it trending on Twitter, he would post the download link up on

Three things accomplished:

  1. iPhone Touch users unfamiliar with Holtz’ blog who happen to pay attention to Twitter trends will google “blackra1n” (the unusual spelling guarantees that will show up on top) and come upon the application. This brings more users to the site than simply announcing it on his website.
  2. The download is free but there’s a Donate link. A certain percentage of Apple users will want George to continue to supply jailbreaks.
  3. His own readers become referrers to a greater degree than otherwise.

Great move George, and thanks for the jailbreak.

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