One-stop viral video shop

Move over YouTube – you’re not the only viral video site on the virtual block.

GW graduate student Matt Silverman created Best Viral to be “the one place with all the hottest videos” and it has been ballooning in growth ever since it launched in October. Instead of clicking on a plethora of viral Web sites, Best Viral offers a one-stop shop for the best videos on the Web.

A viral video is any video, usually a few minutes long that has gained popularity on the Internet and is shown among friends. Best Viral is set up to be easy to understand. Eight viral videos are posted daily on the Web site. Silverman chooses to place eight new videos on the home page every morning, usually ones that have gained sudden popularity, ones that viewers themselves have submitted or just ones that Silverman finds funny. One can also access archives dating months back.

Silverman used innovative ideas to get his Web site started, such as hiring a man in Russia to help him. The two contacted each other through AOL Instant Messenger, and Silverman sent him to-do lists through Google documents. Soon enough they had Best Viral up and running, posting eight videos a day.

There has been an increase from 3,000 to 43,000 hits per day since its launch. Traffic on the site is evident. After refreshing the Web page, it will display an increase of at least 20 viewers. Silverman guesses that there is an average increase of three viewers per second, and he does not expect that to slow down any time soon.

One reason that Best Viral has grown is that viewers on the Web site can choose to “share” videos, which include links to the site. Viewers can also share their favorite videos on MySpace, Facebook and other sites that garner a lot of hits. Viewers are also sending mass e-mails with links to Best Viral, placing a link to the site on instant messenger away messages and posting their favorite videos from the site in Web forums. Several videos, including one that “was actually viral,” Silverman said, about an undercover news investigation on dirty hotel glasses, have drawn in more viewers.

Silverman keeps the Web site afloat through Google ads. Clicking on a video with a certain title, such as the popular “Shoes” will provide you with Google links to the latest shoes sales or popular shoe stores. Silverman is also using funds he garnered from his previous Web site – a Chipotle database that calculated how many calories in a burrito and received roughly 2,500 hits per day.

One of the most innovative aspects of the Web site is the “Top 5” page, which displays the top-five most watched videos from the most popular video Web sites, such as YouTube and College Humor. The page is updated daily. Another popular feature is the “Hall of Fame” page. The page includes “Grape Stomp,” a video that Silverman said was “his inspiration for creating a viral video Web site.” The video is a live news clip of a reporter falling over while stomping grapes, and the main newscasters’ forced responses are right out of a Will Ferrell movie.

Silverman is currently developing membership benefits for those who register for the site. When this process is complete, members will be able to mark a list of favorites, comment on videos, submit videos and keep different lists.

Best Viral is an ever-expanding site. Plans for the future include creating topic-related pages. There will soon be a “Top 5” list for different topics, such as political and entertainment videos. Silverman also said he hopes to involve GW students in the advancement of the site.

Silverman said, “I don’t expect the Web site to stop growing anytime soon. It’s only getting bigger.”

Silverman’s site is http://www.bestviral.com.

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