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Lonelygirl15 is a fake

One of YouTube's most popular videocasters is a fake.

"Bree" (aka Lonelygirl15) who told the world that she was a home-schooled 16-year-old who filmed from her bedroom is, in fact, part of a rather elaborate and yet-to-be fully identified marketing/film project.

Her video clips receive an average of 200,000 views, and over the past months, many people have become sceptical of her authenticity, given the high production value, perfect soudtrack and meticulous storyline that has been broadcast in her videos.

Many people (including the LA Time's Richard Rushfield) just didn't buy it. After a series of preliminary articles, bloggers tracked her identity back to Creative Artists Agency, and late Thursday Rushfield reported on this posting on LonleyGirl15's site:
"Our intention from the outset has been to tell a story ó A story that could only be told using the medium of video blogs and the distribution power of the Internet. A story that is interactive and constantly evolving with the audience."

The statement sidestepped the issue of lonelygirl15's real identity, saying cryptically, "Right now, the biggest mystery of Lonelygirl15 is 'who is she?' We think this is an oversimplification. Lonelygirl15 is a reflection of everyone."

The statement's authors wrote that they are "in the process of building a website centered around video and interactivity."
Pete Cashmore comments:
If Lonelygirl15 is an elaborate marketing ploy for a Blair Witch-style movie, then YouTube Marketing will join MySpace Marketing as one of the most viral new tactics. And even if it isnít, it seems that YouTube mini-sagas are about to take off in a big way. Whatís more, this covert strategy is far more effective than in-your-face advertising: Paris Hiltonís appearance on the site has gone down badly, since YouTube users reject in-your-face commercialism.
As an aside, I disagree with Pete and think the jury is still out on the success of the Paris Hilton channel on YouTube. It has become very popular in a very short period of time: over 1 million views and 5K+ subscribers. And at least, it is transparant and authentic.

Wait.

Did I just say that Paris Hilton is authentic? I'm sorry. That was out of line and I promise not to say things like that again.

Back to Bree ... Whilst it is hard to deny the viral success of Lonelygirl15's videos to
date, it is unclear what the impact of this relevation will have on her
viewership down the line. How will people react when they learn that she is not who she says she is? Her story will become just that: A story. It will lose the authenticity, credibility and natural curiosity from folks who wanted to know what would happen next to this real person. Here is a recent comment from AliKatt2006 on Lonelygirl15's YouTube page:
Lonelygirl the fact that your videos are fake does not make me like you any less. However, now knowing the truth, I can honestly say I don't enjoy your videos as much as I did before. Their just not as interesting to know that their fake. I feel like you scammed me into believing your something your not. You scammed all of us.
Others, like trublubabe (whose own tone/language sounds a bit fake) don't seem to care:
Fake or not you enjoy her videos so who cares if shes acting (...) You've watched her drama and crazy video blogs why would it matter about some silly rumors? (...) I say just let her do her real/Fake blogs about her life and ENJOY them like you did before the STUPID rumors!
How will the story end? Stay tuned and find out.

In the meantime, here is a recap of LA Times articles by LA Times staff WriterRichard Rushfield:

September 9, 2006
The latest confession to stun the entertainment world is an unusual one: "We are filmmakers." The team behind the lonelygirl15 YouTube mystery has come forward, claiming that lonelygirl15 is part of their "show" and thanking their fans effusively for...

September 8, 2006
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...

September 4, 2006
Searching for the truth behind the Web's Watergate -- home schooled, confused 16-year-old with video camera or pawn in an Internet hoax? For complete background, click here . A quick update today after a furious few days of activity. While much of the...

In addition to the LA Times stories, the Wikipedia page is being frequently updated with news and links.


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