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5 creative linkbait campaigns from around the web

Paul Anthony / November 8, 2009

Posted in: Archive

In many competitive markets online, its frequently the case that links are hard to come by. With links being the lynchpin of the Google algorithm, many online marketers are turning to linkbait campaigns to generate these naturally. This is on the whole good for the web, as it is forcing people to create value.

Whilst article marketing and blogging is one way to try and attract links to commercial sites, often there is greater benefit in building or creating something tangeable which itself will result in people linking to you. This may take the form of a web application in its own right, or in a creative twist. This post examines five examples of creative linkbait campaigns that I’ve seen around the web, and what you can learn from each.

LoveHoney Sexmap

URL: http://www.lovehoney.co.uk/sexmap/

Result: 8,018 links. (according to Yahoo site explorer).


With the likelihood of people linking to sex toys from personal blogs – relatively small, Lovehoney had to come up with something that little bit more creative to generate more incoming links. They turned to their assets – their data. Smart webmaster’s realise that this is one of the most powerful weapons in your linkbaiting arsenal. It’s just a matter of presenting / marketing it in a way that people find interesting.

This could easily be applied to many industries – i.e. if you are selling chocolate, you could release something similar “which town has the sweetest tooth”, or if you sell flowers, which town is the most romantic. You get the picture.

Lovehoney had a database full of customers who had purchased sex products, they just dug into that information a bit more, and presented it as a fun application to find out “how sexy is your town”.  If this had of been marketed as “Which town buys the most sex products?” and listed as a blog post; there’s no way it would have had the same impact.

Lesson to be learned?

Being creative with the data you collect, and presenting it in a consumable way, will generate links.

ShockAbsorber Bounceometer (NSFW)

URL: http://www.shockabsorber.co.uk/bounceometer/shock.html

Result: 10,086 links


The marketing folks at shockabsorber opted for a flash application to showcase their product.  It allows users to choose a cup size and a level of activity to see a computer simulation of the difference between no bra, a normal sports bra, and their Shock Absorber collection of sports bras. You really have to see it to get the full impact for yourself.

Its another example of the power of sex in marketing, and the application itself is a brilliant use of flash animation to bring a concept to life. Showing exactly what it can do (for women) – and hypnotising the male audience has resulted in an absolute mountain of backlinks from around the web.

There’s a fine line between this becoming gimmicky and / or tacky. In my opinion they have pulled it off without breaching either.

Lesson to be learned?

Sex sells, as do concepts. People are more likely to respond positively to visual stimuli when appropriate.


URL: http://mingle2.com/zombieharmony/free-dating-sites#

Result: 3,280 links


Dating sites are a particularly tough niche to score links but with this web application, both humour and shock tactics have been used to create tons of links for Mingle2.com. I’m pretty sure this is the only dating site on the web that offers a parody of itself for zombies.

Don’t be scared to let your hair down. Mingle2 have clearly not taken themselves too seriously and benefitted from it by entertaining people.

Lesson to be learned?

Parodies / humour is a great way to generate links.

Blogger Relief

URL: http://www.berocca.co.uk/bloggerrelief/

Result: 550 links


This was a blogger outreach program that I actually participated in. The pharmaceutical industry, again is a difficult niche to obtain links. What better way to obtain links than from the blogosphere. You can read more about the campaign and the reasons for its success here.

Lesson to be learned?

Giving something tangible away for free will encourage people to link to you.

Technorati State of the Blogosphere

URL: http://technorati.com/blogging/article/state-of-the-blogosphere-2009-introduction/

Result: 167,201 (2009)


Technorati’s research into the blogosphere collects links by the bucketload year on year. As their main business is on maintaining information on popular blogs, this research summarises the who, what, why and where trends on the web.

It is released annually, and is comprehensive in nature – commonly spanning at least 5 pages of information. The demographics of bloggers are examined and as such this causes quite a bit of buzz around the web. The ingenuity lies in the fact that much of the research DOESN’T use the data within their main service, whilst giving the impression that perhaps it does. Ultimately the majority of the state of the blogosphere is composed as a result of talking directly to, interviewing, and surveying bloggers themselves. The research is collated, and presented in a meaningful way.

Lesson to be learned?

Sometimes creativity, hard work and research, is what gets the juice.

  • linkbait
  • Marketing
  • viral marketing

4 responses to “5 creative linkbait campaigns from around the web

  1. The problem with linkbait is the anchor text is hard to control and the page everyone links to may be a game or some type of content that doesn’t perform well in terms of converting prospects or getting them into the main pages of the website.

  2. Hi Kieran.

    I agree on your point with keyword targeting, but again, creativity can provide the answer there.

    As for the landing page, a big fat 301 redirect usually sorts that out.


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