United Airlines Complaint Song Breaks 1M Views in 4 Days

United Breaks Guitars, the sudden viral hit produced by distraught United Airways passenger Dave Carroll and his band, broke 1M views a mere 4 days after he posted it on YouTube.

According to his blog, Carroll decided to write the song after his guitar was broken in United's care and 9 months of back-and-forth resulted in no settlement. As he sings in his catchy song, "I've heard all your excuses and I've chased your wild gooses, and this attitude of yours I say must go."

Here's the incredibly short timeline:

• Monday - Carroll posts his video to YouTube
• Tuesday - United says in a public Twitter response "we've contacted him directly to make it right"
• Wednesday - CNN's Wolf Blitzer discusses it on air
• Friday - 1M+ YouTube views with 7,000 comments, 1M+ results in Google for search string "united breaks guitars," and 19,000 blog mentions -- not to mention the millions of viewers that watched it on CNN, other networks, and traditional media.

Carroll's goal was to get one million views in one year but he did more than just that. Remarkably, in these brief 4 days he changed United's Google search results page -- something marketers take great pains to protect. In web marketing it's often said, "You are what Google says you are," and right now 4 of the Google results on the first page for "United Airlines" point to this video. Seven of the first 10 results for a Google video search of United Airlines are damaging to the brand.

Carroll and his band are likely flying high after all this publicity but United Airlines has some serious recovery work to do.

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