David Sarno at the LA Times uncovers a web of deception
surrounding a recent YouTube sensation called GreenTeaGirlie.
It all started in late March when a 10-second video of a young woman introducing herself
became one of the most-watched videos on YouTube. Why was this video so popular, many people wondered. After all, it wasn't very remarkable. Was she another lonelygirl15
Soon after, two related websites appeared: greenteagirlie.com and kallieannie.com.
The first site, greenteagirlie.com
, contained a link to Seattle's Dragonwater Tea Co. (promoting suspicion that GreenTeaGirlie was a marketing ploy) and later to a site called Vidstars.net
, that claimed to be a marketing service using YouTube video stars to promote products.
The second site, kallieannie.com
, was all about the GreenTeaGirlie, whose real name, apparently, is Kallie.
So what was going on? The LA Times reporter figured out there were two different deceptions perpetrated by different groups.
Deception One: A friend of Kallie shot the video of her and then gamed the YouTube system by creating hundreds of fake MySpace profiles that linked to her video, artificially causing it to appear on YouTube's most watched video list, bringing her to the attention of YouTube viewers who then really did begin checking out her video. The same guy helped created kallieannie.com.
Deception Two: A separate pair of pranksters took advantage of the GreenTeaGirlie phenomenon to promote a hoax of their own -- Vidstars.net. Their idea was to create a fictitious company that was supposedly using YouTube stars to promote products. They created the greenteagirlie.com site, and linked it to the Dragonwater Tea Co., as a way to make it seem as if GreenTeaGirlie was a marketing ploy. So it was a hoax within a hoax. All very complicated.
So to sum up, GreenTeaGirlie is an artificially hyped YouTube star, who has nothing to do with Vidstars.net, which is a hoax website pretending to be a company that uses YouTube stars to promote products.
Or, at least, that's the way it seems for now. Unless it's all a hoax within a hoax within a hoax, engineered as a byzantine marketing stunt for Green Tea.
For those interested, here's GreenTeaGirlie's YouTube page
that lists all of her videos.