Lack of Control over the Impact
One of the serious disadvantages associated with viral marketing relates to lack of control over the impact of viral marketing campaign. Unlike the majority of alternative marketing campaigns; in some cases it is not possible for businesses to stop a viral marketing campaign. The necessity to stop the marketing campaign may arise when the campaign is proving to be counter-productive, or the level of demand exceeds the company’s production capabilities.
Vulnerability to Manipulation and Spamming
Disadvantages of viral marketing might include vulnerability to manipulation and spamming. This is especially true in occasions where incentives are provided for the spread of viral message, and in individuals might become motivated to send the message to other individuals that do not wish to receive the message. In this way, there can be a risk for a viral marketing campaign to be a counter-productive.
Limited Level of Accessibility
Lilien and Grewall (2012) consider limited level of accessibility as a serious disadvantage of viral marketing. Specifically, Lilien and Grewall (2012) point to a wide range of media formats such as Flash Player, Firewall software etc. and argue that internet users need to be equipped with the relevant software in order to be impacted by a viral message.
Lilien, G.L. & Grewal, R. (2012) “Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing” Edward Elgar Publishing