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I'm a Hauler, Baby, I Just Want You To Know

Should I get the matte taupe eye shadow or the shimmery plum eye shadow? Decisions like these make life so difficult'?¦ Well, perhaps they don't make life difficult, but they certainly interest a lot of people. And who would've guessed? Hauls are the latest phenomenon in marketing ' in fact, so revolutionizing that our own CEO Gary Colen recently chatted with The Boston Globe about hauls and their influence (and no, I'm not being sarcastic ' you can read the article here). So what exactly is a haul and what makes them influential? Hauls are videos created by fashionistas in which they discuss their recent fashion and beauty purchases, and ongoing shopping bargains, to enthusiastic viewers in search of shopping advice. Such self-made videos have been sweeping YouTube for more than a year and some have been garnering views of nearly 48,000 per video. That's right, 48,000 views. Want more numbers? You got it: more than 200,000 hauls have been uploaded to YouTube this year, and posts are expected to rise as the holiday season ramps up. Needless to say, retailers are seeing the potential in hauls and persuading vloggers (or 'haulers'?) to pitch their products through seeding, gift cards and other goodies. The amount of money each hauler makes depends on the number of views their videos have. More views = more money. Some haulers disclose their earnings in sponsored posts, while others discreetly accept. And now for the fun FTC part: FTC guidelines that took effect in December 2008 state that haulers must disclose if they received free products. However, many of them are unaware of this; so when working with haulers, make sure to inform (or remind) them about open disclosure. Haulers also earn money through YouTube's Partners Program, which gives them a share of profits from ads that run prior to, and appear alongside, their videos. MakeupByMel, for instance, earns $12,000 a year through the program. Regardless of the kinks that haulers are encountering, they are quickly making headway in the world of marketing. Some have appeared on morning shows ' and one set of hauler sisters even have their own reality show. This frenzy makes me wonder, though, how long will this movement last? Or is it just another passing fad? Anyways, back to the important stuff'?¦ matte taupe or shimmery purple?

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