Bottom-feeders

Success online veers from forgery to filthy


To be top-of-page at the music aggregator HypeMachine is nothing short of a triumph. It takes millions of listens to hoist an MP3 to the coveted first position. [rssbreak]

Justice, a French DJ team who produce some of the most popular/bloggable dance music in the world, would naturally fly to the top.

And two weeks ago, that appeared to happen. An email from the duo’s label sent around the MP3 for Beginning Of The End, with new artwork, to a handful of taste-making blogs, which in turn went viral and to the top HypeMachine’s most popular online music.

It was a fake. The record label’s email was hacked, and the song is not by Justice.

Not a week later, Kanye West posted an MP3 purportedly from the new Daft Punk album. It was supposed to be from the soundtrack to a reworked version of the movie Tron. His readers went so far as to create YouTube videos with the song playing to Tron footage.

Another fake this time the track was a MySpace rip of Toronto DJ Pilotpriest. It appears the army of monkeys running West’s blog made an egregious error while he was away in Paris.

The disheartening part of these fakes is how easily the blogosphere can be fooled. Hipster Runoff, an ironic arbiter of such filter disco, nailed it with his “wag the dog? wag the blog” meme.

Meanwhile, Pilotpriest’s camp claims this was in no way an undercover promotional tactic, but is rushing the track everyone mistook for Daft Punk, called Body Double, to iTunes to capitalize on the attention.

The resulting spike in popularity for Pilotpriest – unintended as it was – is sure to spark more of this aggravating imposterism from others in the future.

For another instance of successful online promotion, try this.

Take a picture of yourself in underwear from behind and post it to a website. From there, your bum will be viewed, given a rating from one to five, and anonymously commented upon. After that, a jury of 10 will further judge it.

What sounds like public humiliation is an actual contest/advertising campaign from American Apparel, called the Best Bottom contest.

It joins a wave of citizen model pushes, like those at United Colours of Benetton and L.e.i. jeans. And anyone watching the Super Bowl saw Doritos sad attempt at crowd-sourced advertising through YouTube.

Predictably, boycotts of American Apparel are easy to find, but more than 1,000 asses have now appeared on the site in under two weeks, with exponentially larger pageview numbers. A thousand ass models can’t be wrong.

Moreover, it’s possible that AmAppy has the first-ever successful viral, consumer-powered advertising campaign. For that, the company deserves a pat on the backside. (All ethical concerns – like the age of the models and objectification – aside, of course.)

Corporate viral pushes have been embarrassingly bad, mostly because advertisers can’t understand Internet markets. A contest to make a car commercial go viral is more likely to annoy the demographic who would actually buy a car than anything else.

American Apparel recognized its customers are sexed-up oversharers, and capitalized on it. It combined the ubiquitous Facebook and the growing fashion-themed social media site Lookbook, and bravely added its well-established brand of smut. The results are eye-opening.

joshuae@nowtoronto.com

formspring.me/joshuaerrett

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