This 'Lonelygirl' was too good to be true

Is she for real? Is she really homeschooled? Is she in a cult? Does that weird guy like her? Those are a few of the questions surrounding "lonelygirl15," a YouTube vlogging (video blogging) sensation who claimed to be a 16-year-old homeschooled girl named Bree. She's cute, shy, a little bit geeky, and appears to partake in some behavior that may border on the Satanic--of course she became a viral video sensation.

Credit: YouTube

Then questions of her real identity began to surface. Some viewers pointed out that she looked a little too old to be 16. Some said the production was strikingly professional for a homemade Web video. Others thought Bree's performance reeked of bad acting and wondered if perhaps it was some sort of "Blair Witch Project"-ish promotion for an upcoming movie. In this reporter's opinion, the "Lonelygirl15" videos do look suspiciously polished--what teenage girl's room is that neat?

Now, Bree appears to have been outed as a fake, possibly played by an aspiring actress from New Zealand. Mystery still surrounds her vlog, but here's a definite: The blogosphere's going nuts over her. "Lonelygirl15" is the number three search on blog hub Technorati, behind predictable frontrunners "Apple" and "9/11."

Blog community response:

"I took a look and Bree is picture-perfect in her looks, in a picture-perfect bedroom, from where her vid posts are cast...I took a look at some of Bree's videos and to my eye, I saw a highly professionally executed product...Many others didn't have my hindsight and had gotten sucked into Bree's dramas, and story line, and believed it was a real person. That has to hurt, to be suckered in so publicly."
--Silicon Valley Watcher

"I keep hearing about some kind of viral marketing campaign at YouTube with a teenage girl called lonelygirl15, who does webcam videos that are too high-quality and too bad-actingish to be real. So I check her out on Wikipedia, and you'd think it was the (expletive) Kennedy assassination or something. The consensus seems to be that it's a hoax... OR IS IT??? Yeah, it is."
--Blowing Smoke

"I feel a tad disappointed now the truth is out - it's like a book you just want to get to the end of to find out what happened - so you skip to the end and read the last few pages and then just feel annoyed with yourself cos there's no point in reading the book anymore. I think they should have kept the whole saga going for longer."
--Julia Sutherland

Tech Culture
About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


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