Is YouTube Phenom a Marketing Hoax?
Posted on Sep 11, 2006
The Los Angeles Times uncovers evidence suggesting that one of YouTube’s biggest stars, a 16-year-old named Bree, or “Lonelygirl15,” is actually the product of a slick Hollywood marketing campaign.
Either way, it’s fascinating how quickly YouTube is changing the rules of the game.
Los Angeles Times:
Lonelygirl15 appears to be an innocent, home-schooled 16-year-old, pouring her heart out for her video camera in the privacy of her bedroom. But since May, her brief posts on the video-sharing site YouTube and the social networking hub MySpace have launched a Web mystery eagerly followed by her million-plus viewers: Who is this sheltered ingenue who calls herself “Bree,” and is she in some sort of danger ? or, worse, the tool of some giant marketing machine?
No one has publicly come forward to lay claim to her work, but she is starting to look as connected in Hollywood as any starlet. Three lonelygirl15-obsessed amateur Web sleuths set up a sting using tracking software that appears to show that e-mails sent from a lonelygirl15 account came from inside the offices of the Beverly Hills-based talent agency Creative Artists Agency.
The apparent CAA link takes its place alongside other tantalizing pieces of evidence that lonelygirl15 is not who she claims to be: a copyright for the name obtained by an Encino lawyer, and a plot line that, leading speculation suggests, will turn out to be the lead-in to a horror movie’s marketing campaign.