How to Buy Fame and Media Attention

Lester Brumzler is a cartoon character who was born rich. His dad was a financial pro who made millions trading stocks on Wall Street. The Brumzler family at its peak in the 1980s owned several castles in Europe as well as thousands of acres of real estate in America. Lester grew up a privileged kid who got whatever he wanted as far as fancy toys and clothes. He attended an Ivy League college and got his degree in Business Administration.

By the time he was 21 Lester had $10 million in the bank, but still didn't know what he wanted to do for a career. He decided in his late 20s that he would become a pop culture icon, first as a recording artist, then as a writer. In order to make a splash in the music world he had to appear on the charts. He talked with some of his buddies and found out that the music biz has used a wide variety of strategies for years to hype artists. They understand that a certain number of collectors buy whatever is on the charts no matter what it sounds like.

Brumzler figured out that all it takes is $100,000 to show up on the national charts. You simply start 10,000 fake accounts on a music streaming service for $10 per account. Then you load up each account with fake spins, driven by bot networks, which are automated to simulate the actions of humans. A music streaming company such as Horrify doesn't know the difference, since most of the money ends up in the hands of its investors, the big labels. Horrify pays a fraction of a penny for each spin, which adds up to over $1 million for 7 million spins in one month.

Digging deeper into research as to how titles are rigged to show up on "bestseller lists" when it comes to books, Brumzler learned of a San Diego marketing firm that makes bulk purchases for writers. These purchases show up as a block of sales in reports reviewed by the New York Times, which has been fooled on occasion to list a book as a bestseller when it was really just a bulk purchase prank initiated by the author. The author puts up all the money for the bulk purchase in addition to paying the marketing company a fee.

The idea of faking popularity has been around for decades. Every success story has to start somewhere and many times it starts with a fabrication to sound bigger than life. Brumzler is thinking of starting a marketing service for big companies as a funnel for distorting stats if his plan A as a rock star fails. So far he's failing miserably, mostly because he's too lazy to get the prank rolling. He mostly sits on his yacht and dreams up marketing schemes, but he rarely gets around to making anything happen in the real world.

Created by Alex Cosper