In the name of full disclosure I should mention that I’m a huge Howard Stern fan and have even started a Ning based Social Network for fans at www.socialstern.com. Sometime in the last 24 hours the most popular MySpace profiles for Howard Stern staff members were deleted. While fake celebrity MySpace profiles are nothing new these had gathered a huge following with some profiles including over 160,000 friends. Even though these profiles had been on MySpace for over 3 years they were recently discussed by the show which sent the Howard’s News Team to investigate and remove the profiles in question.
I was able to track down the owners of the profiles Jake and Jennifer who provided some information on what happened. Being huge fans of the show they originally created these profiles for fans but soon forgot about them. A year later they logged in to find 1000’s of incoming friend requests and messages from other fans. They took it and ran with and started including some advertisements to various affiliate programs and other Howard related web sites like HowardSternInternetRadio.com and HotRetards.com which they also own. No doubt a very savvy business move because these profiles were receiving huge amounts of page views from targeted visitors (in most cases other Howard fans). In fact many fans made these profiles as part of their top 8 which further increased their popularity and reach.
The main problem with these profiles is they did not indicate they were "unofficial" so droves of MySpace users would send show related messages. Jake tells me that they never responded to these messages or did anything to promote the profile, their growth was organic and natural. He also tells me "Anyone who thought the profile was actually run by Howard Stern himself should have their internet privileges revoked immediately!" and to a certain extent I would agree. The Howard Stern Show was right to try to protect their brand however in the end the fans and Sirius Radio are the real losers. After all, the advertisements displayed on these profiles were for Sirius radios and DVD’s/Books related to Howard Stern. Instead of removing these profiles the smart move would of been to work with the owners by adding some type of disclosure and leveraging all that traffic.
Ratings: (on a scale of 1-5 hams)
- IP Watchdog’n
- Affiliate Program Riches