March 21, 2010— -- The first thing every tween or teen does right after getting home from the mall is show off her shopping spree. But now, girls are doing more than bragging about their fashion finds to their best friends.
A new phenomenon called "haul videos" means they can show off their purchases to the whole world. There are more than 110,000 haul videos currently on YouTube, and some videos are racking up tens of millions of views.
Hauls are short product review videos. The "vlogger," or video blogger, shows off her goods, gushing about everything from lip gloss to flip-flops and gives her opinion on the quality of the products.
"Haul videos are the perfect marriage of two of Generation Y's favorite things: technology and shopping," says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist. "It's a vicarious pleasure. You don't have to spend the money and you still get the thrill; it's a bit like pornography."
Haul videos are not just about blowing allowance money on designer clothes. The vloggers brag about scouring sales at drug stores and bargain outlets, too.
While haul videos are making one girl's shopping treasure into another's online entertainment, they're also transforming these savvy shoppers into young tycoons. Some videos are being viewed millions of times, and the vloggers are cashing in -- scoring sponsorships, product deals and magazine spreads.
"We have some haul videos that compare to major cable channels in views," says Shishir Mehrotra, director of Product Management at YouTube.
Mehrotra scours YouTube looking for top talent. When he finds a vlogger who has cultivated a large following, he'll offer a YouTube partnership to them.
The YouTube Partner Program allows budding entrepreneurs to get paid to make videos and pocket a cut of the ad revenue.
"We have hundreds of partners that make over $1,000 a month, and we have several that are making six figures and really are supporting a living off of YouTube," Mehotra says.