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What Is Real On YouTube? 277

An anonymous reader writes, "The popularity of user-generated video sites like YouTube has given rise to deceptive videos created for self-promotion, advertising, or even smearing rival brands. This latter format, dubbed the 'smear video,' depicts a rival brand's product exhibiting fictitious faults. One example is the 21-second YouTube video entitled 'Samsung handset, easy to break at one try!', which shows a smiling woman easily snapping the new Samsung Ultra Edition mobile phone in half. Samsung says the phone was rigged to snap and the video has now been removed from the site. The article also accuses those who created the now infamous Lonelygirl15 YouTube videos of 'deception for profit. Misrepresenting commercials as independent user-generated content, actors as members of the public, and fiction as fact.' Will user-generated video sites increasingly confront visitors with the disturbing possibility that the video they're watching is not a home video at all, but a sophisticated ad campaign?"
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What Is Real On YouTube?

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  • Re:Free Sp$$ch (Score:5, Informative)

    by ReverendLoki ( 663861 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @05:11PM (#16133670)

    You are free to say "Company X sucks", or "I think Product Y is cheap crap". However, to say "Product Y breaks so easily, this woman can do it without any effort" is making a supposedly factual statement. You are free to express an opinion all you want, but when you get into statements of measurable fact, you better hope the numbers back you up.

    Or, to put it another way - I can go online and say "Joe's a butthead" just fine. But, if I'm gonna go saying "Joe just beat up a homeless cripple and stole his blanket", I'm opening myself up to a lawsuit if, indeed, Joe did not perform these acts, and I knew as much.

    Oh, and as video is a fixed format, it would be a libel case. Slander is for transientory defamation, such as unrecorded speech - i.e., I go shouting it on the street corner, or start telling all my friends this "fact". You got it right, but I've already seen a lot of others get it wrong so far...

  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Monday September 18, 2006 @05:11PM (#16133673) Homepage Journal
    >Did anyone think "lonelygirl15" was real?
    Yes. I saw threads about her on several message boards I frequent where people who were decently intelligent (judging by the quality of their posts on other subjects) were discussing her without appearing to have a clue that it was a set-up.
  • Re:hmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by Peter Mork ( 951443 ) <> on Monday September 18, 2006 @05:27PM (#16133805) Homepage

    From a Washington Post article: "[Lonelygirl15] was a 19-year-old acress named Jessica Rose." Skip to the next paragraph: "Rose landed on 'The Tonight Show.'"

    The profit is in self-promotion. The other filmmakers "have since signed with Creative Artists Agency."

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Software ( 179033 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @05:52PM (#16133976) Homepage Journal
    If it was completely made up, it wouldn't rise in popularity. It's like stereotypes - you might not like them, but there's SOME basis in fact. Or else it would never catch on.
    Actually, sometimes they are completely made up. Look up "Audi sudden acceleration CBS 60 Minutes" or "GM pickup rocket engine NBC Dateline" to see how respected news organizations do publicize non-existent product defects. In the Audi / CBS case, CBS used unverified anecdotes as the basis for hysterical reporting. Never mind that sudden acceleration of a modern automobile is impossible if the driver's foot is held firmly on the brake (unless the brakes were not working, which was not the case). In the GM pickup / NBC case, NBC wanted to show how a GM pickup could catch on fire, so it used a model rocket engine to start a fire after a planned crash.

    Getting back to the Samsung case, if they sawed the phone almost in half, then videotaped a person breaking it with light finger pressure, I can see how this would become a popular video.

  • Re:Entertainment (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:24AM (#16135796) Homepage
    "So please, ad people, continue bringing us your Wazzaaaaaa's and your Geico Gekkos and your dancing transforming cars, and whatever else you can think of, blatant or not. Make me laugh. Make me yell. Make me think about buying your products, or of discontinuing service with your competitors. I will continue to temper my decisions with research and past experiences as my guides, but if you have a truely superior product or service to offer, then I will appreciate a truely superior ad campaign to tell me of it.

    If only it were that easy. I'm in advertising, and believe me, there is not a single creative in this industry who DOESN'T want to put out great creative that people love. They want the fame, they want the glory, they want the Addy, and they want the money. Unfortunately they fight several factors that basically give you the ads we've all come to know and hate. Those factors are budget, deadline, and the client. Neither of which we have much, if any control over.

    Fortunately, as clients start to realize the mantra of "you can't MAKE a viral video, it BECOMES viral" the only real change they have of getting a shot at it is to really let the creatives go balls out and do something crazy. Often times this can be done on a very limited budget. Just thought I'd shed a little light on things from this side of the table.

Happiness is twin floppies.