Ah, the secret of viral success. Snake Oil 2.0 for sure. However, I am 100% sure that the following is a key factor.
I saw it happen before in 2005 when Alex Tew successfully created the Million Dollar Homepage.
I've seen it beautifully replicated five years later when little Charlie Simpson wanted to raise £500 for Haiti and so far has hit £160,000+.
The secret (well, one of) to viral success, or indeed any success online, is...narrative!
To capture the imagination you need to tell a good story. You need a great hook and the more universal that story or hook the better your chances of hitting the motherload.
Alex Tew needed to raise money to go to university...
Little Charlie Simpson just wanted to raise money for Haiti...
Never before has the power of a good editor or story teller been so valuable. Without winning hearts those campaigns would have gone nowhere. By winning hearts they have been given 5, 6, and even possibly in Alex's case, 7 figure PR budgets...absolutely free.
So want to go viral? How are you going to make people care like Alex & Charlie?
NB: Ironic isn't it that whilst people predicted that the coming of the internet would hasten the death of the book that the oral tradition seems to be making a comeback.