How reply girl’s videos make her mounds of cash

Wearing a low-cut top and commenting on viral videos wins her web traffic, and also angry comments

How reply girl makes mounds of cash

Photgraph by Roger LeMoyne

Alejandra Gaitan was, until eight months ago, living below the poverty line and struggling through college in Montreal. Then she discovered YouTube. Specifically, Gaitan discovered that if she found the most popular video on YouTube and filmed herself talking about it in a low-cut top, she could make some money. A lot of money.

More than 1,000 videos and 25 million views later, Gaitan dropped out of college to focus on reply videos full-time. She is now comfortably “middle class,” thanks to earnings from ad revenue generated by her new career showcasing her breasts on YouTube. “At the beginning, I won’t deny it, it was pure desperation,” says the 24-year-old, who moved to Quebec from Latin America seven years ago and spent a year blogging about art on YouTube before discovering reply videos. “I was just in it for the money. But as the time passes, I’m really starting to enjoy it.”

Gaitan is what is known as a reply girl, a term she coined through her username—thereplygirl—that seems to have inspired a legion of young buxom women to try their hand at YouTube entrepreneurship. Video replies have long been a staple of the YouTube community, allowing viewers to comment on a video by posting a video of their own. The original videos and the replies are usually linked as related content, which allows viewers of a video to watch the conversation unfold and join the discussion. But reply girls are a particular brand of video blogger who sit at the nexus where user-generated content goes from exhibitionism to spam. They typically troll YouTube for hours looking for trending videos and then post rambling, often nonsensical replies that have little to add to the conversation except to smother it in cleavage.

Gaitan is the most prolific of the reply girls, posting as much as 20 times a day. Her most popular video, a reply to a video of a North Carolina dad who shot his daughter’s laptop, garnered 1.5 million hits. Like most, they are not particularly edifying. Hers usually begin with “So yeah, I just saw a video about some guy . . .” and end seconds later with her sign-off, “Peace and love everybody. See ya!”

The few dozen or so reply girls have sparked a backlash among YouTube faithful who complain they go online to watch videos of cats doing backflips only to be bombarded with unrelated, breast-laden replies. YouTube’s content creators, such as the gaming site The Yogscast, accuse reply girls of siphoning off ad revenue by stealing male viewers.

It’s the money that seems to irk YouTube users the most. Since it purchased YouTube in 2006 for $1.7 billion, Google has struggled to monetize the site’s giant reservoir of videos, mostly by allowing companies to run banner ads on the most popular content. And it should come as no surprise that, like everywhere else on the Web, breasts sell on YouTube. “They are taking the way the Internet was built on sex and sexual images to motivate traffic and they’re actually using it for their own purposes,” says Queen’s University media professor Sidneyeve Matrix. “So it’s controversial, but it’s just so clever.”

Gaitan won’t reveal how much she makes, saying she’s bound by a confidentiality agreement with Google’s AdSense, which gives users a portion of ad sales generated from every 1,000 viewers. It’s enough that she plans to file taxes this year and hopes to move out of the apartment she shares with her mom. “I’m not a millionaire,” she says. “All I can say is it’s a decent amount of money.”

Along the way, Gaitan has generated a tremendous amount of hate mail. She has been called a prostitute and threatened with death and rape. Hackers have tried to break into her account and she claims a rival reply girl spammed one of her videos in an attempt to shut her down.

The irony, she says, is that the more angry comments she receives, the higher her video ranks on the site and the more money she makes. “People are trying to bury me, they’re trying to make me stop,” she says. “But the way I see it, it’s free publicity and absolutely counterproductive for the haters. The more attention I get, the stronger I’ll become.”


How reply girl’s videos make her mounds of cash

  1. Aww, jeez, too bad I don’t have a rack.

    •  So do a beefcake one.

    • Get a nice set grafted on. Then you’ll be in business.

      • Would either of you join me then?

  2. There are many times that I have seen youtube videos with somewhat interesting titles, and said to myself… “well, the girl is pretty enough for me to give it a shot.” However, if a video isn’t interesting, I will usually leave it after a few seconds. From an advertising perspective, that seems like it is of dubious utility for the advertiser. 

    • Sorry, the punchline: youtube should record (and possibly include) a measure of view-seconds, instead of just counting views. Views are a misleading statistic, because many people leave after a few seconds. 

      • Personally, I tend to think if you’ve been on the net for any amount of time, you quickly develop automatic ad-blocker wetware in your head. So even if you watch the whole video, you end up leaving the site without realizing what was being advertized.

        • Advertisers are after your subconscious mind, not your conscious.

        • I find that the real ad-blocker in your browser works better. My first thought reading this was, “I completely forgot that youtube has advertisements on it”.

      • YouTube does do this.  In the analytics section, you can view a graph of your video’s audience retention over time, and easily compare it to the video to see what scene, or even what phrase/word sent them away.

  3. Her commentary is beyond stupid. I clicked on one of her vids once by accident. Won’t happen again. 

    • “by accident” – your hand slipped? LOL.

  4. The problem is that youtube doesn’t show the like/dislike stats before you clock. You see boobs, you clock. Then you realize it’s her nonsensically talking about some junk, and you leave.
    99% percent of her viewers likely watch her for 5 seconds or less. But the YouTube system rewards this.

    The only people who should be REALLY annoyed about this are the advertisers. I guarantee they are NOT getting their monies worth.

  5. She bots her videos she gets a computer generated bot to watch the video which can be like 2mill in 5min

  6. I don’t blame her for playing the game making a quick buck but hopefully at some point she finds a little more purpose in life.

  7. She’s adding more actual value to the world than 90% of the bankers on Wall St. and Bay St.. That’s not saying much, but its the truth.

    • She talks nonsense and misleads Youtube viewers nothing more than a con woman. She is in the same league as Wall street bankers who destroyed America’s economy.

  8. Good for her to find a way to make money, but she should have stayed in school.  LIke most flash in the pain internet things, this way of generating cash won’t last when google and advertisers realize the views they get are a mirage.  Then where will she be?

    • Making sex tapes.

  9. I’m glad that Youtube is basically encouraging women to objectify themselves in order to make money. :)

  10. Just amazing and sad to see this story while bored & browsing. I saw a video of this Alejandra Gaitan and she doesn’t come across as some sexpot profiteer, but a rather very down-to-earth, lonely person suffering poverty who found a legitimate way to escape it. She says this. All the swirl aside, the fact remains is that she has a really fabulous firm rack, which most men go nuts over. She has a bust that makes many women envious and catty.
    Also, she has a very striking similarity to Sephardi Jewish women from Spain and southern France. I would bet $100 she has some Jewish ancestry in Mexico. I hope she finds her way and a life free from hatred & controversy.

    • suppose Alejandra Gaitan was a Palestinian or Christian Israeli you Jews would be furious and angry and use your Jewish-dominated American media to villify this skank?? She is a sexpot profiteer, her recent videos are invitations to soft pornography and she is stripping online for the recent videos of 2013. Farra Abrams Teenage Mom, another Jew, made millions off from her recent sex tapes. Jews love to support their own and pledge homage to aparatheid Israel. Isn’t it debatable that Harper supports apartheid Israel, Obama supports apartheid Israel and millions of Canadian and American soldiers risk their lives to fight Israel’s war?????

      The goyim are not fools anymore to these Israel war crimes and Talmud Zioniation of the world.

    • J E W S ….

  11. Before Youtube hid the metadata tags, many of these “reply girls” copied and pasted the tags of trending videos, used their buubies as thumbnails and recorded a bunch of words and posted it online. They trolled the Youtube system and made money. This MacLeans article is suggesting that poverty striken women like Alejandra Gaita should do soft porn, talk crap and behave as a skank to make money. Way to go Jewish feminists Rebecca Walker, Gloria Allred, Bella Azbug, and other feminists who corrupted the G8 countries!