Glitter Gagster Deconstructs His Very Profitable Media Stunt

Mathew Carpenter is laughing all the way to the Aussie bank

In the preface of Ryan Holiday’s New York Observer Q&A with Mathew Carpenter, the 22-year-old Australian responsible for flash-in-the-news-pan, the reporter explains that it was all just a pre-meditated media stunt. And that even when Carpenter told some journalists it was a stunt, those journalists chose to ignore that key fact and cover the topic, obliviously.

In the Q&A, Carpenter pays Fast Company contributor Nancy L. Miller a nice back-handed compliment, suggesting her coverage was the most impressive. At the other end of the bum’s rush scale, there were layers like this one:

“It really reinforced to me how little fact-checking and verification goes into a story,” notes Carpenter. “For example, many outlets reported I was a student at a local university which isn’t true and I have no idea how they came to that conclusion.”

MathewCarpenterTweet_01_27Another reporter who covered the short-term glitter trail was Chris O’Brien, a Toulouse, France based contributor for Venture Beat. He’s updated his item with the jaw-dropping fact that Carpenter sold the URL and accumulated customer leads for a cool $85,000. He also chimed in to the Observer/Betabeat item comments:

…Personally, I wrote about it because it was comic (and even warned people that it could be fake, so advised them not to send him money.) That this was an attempt at creating viral nonsense was obvious to anyone who read or wrote about this.

From playful conceit to real-world exit strategy, a total of 22 days transpired. In other words, Carpenter grossed $3,863.63 per day from this one project alone. According to his cheeky bio, he’s been earning a full-time living from his online entrepreneurial efforts since 2010.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.
Publish date: January 28, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT