Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
Melissa Ponce De Leon, a 19-year-old bartender from the Bronx, had just gone shopping. When she got home she sat in her tiny peach-colored room, leaned into her Web cam and held up her swag: a few MAC lipsticks, a glittery black V-neck top, a snake bracelet and a new pair of Ugg boots.
According to The New York Times, this is a haul video, a phenomenon that has been sweeping YouTube for more than a year in which women, most of them young, methodically share their fashion and beauty purchases. The videos are the virtual equivalent of watching a girlfriend show off her finds after a shopping trip. And, in a recession, they fulfill a voyeuristic thrill: seeing how other people spend money.
Haul videos have also turned into a lucrative enterprise for some. Ponce De Leon, for instance, earns $1,000 a month through YouTube’s “partners” program, which gives members a share of the profits from advertisements that appear with their videos. Some haulers receive money from the companies whose products they review — usually in disclosed, sponsored posts, but sometimes under the table.
Haulers with corporate sponsors sometimes host contests, giving away products as a way to attract new subscribers. Sometimes the women are paid a commission: Maryapril Bautista of Los Angeles, for example, says she earns a 15 percent commission from a hair care company, Flat Iron Experts, on sales generated by her product reviews.
“We talk about a product, and then we give a link to the Web site,” said Bautista, who uses the screen name AprilAthena7. She makes less than $100 a month because her subscriber base is low, she said, “but a lot of those girls probably have 50,000 and make a couple of thousand a month doing that.”
Photo by The New York Times.