BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Hollywood legend claims that aspiring actress Lana Turner was discovered at a drugstore soda fountain. Today, stars -- even if we use the term loosely -- are born, and implode, with a flurry of global mouse clicks.
Andy Warhol was right with his quip about everyone getting their crack at 15 minutes of fame. Fame may ultimately be fleeting on the Internet, but with
, "stars" can be made in record time. That rapid rise to fame, and the extra cash that goes along with it, can produce financial disasters.
Tila Tequila and Perez Hilton are nearly household names. The
was a semi-regular on the
Jimmy Kimmel Show
. We all know that guy at work who imitates the
"Leave Britney Alone" guy
"double rainbow" dude"
while standing at the water cooler. Our relatives forward
"Charlie Bit My Finger"
. Charlie Sheen, an actual celebrity, is now reinventing himself as a walking, talking Internet meme.
With celebrity status, no matter how instant or ironic it may be, there are financial opportunities -- paid endorsements and appearances, cashing in on Web traffic, selling songs and videos.
was an unknown hairdresser until an attempted home invasion and his over-the-top declarations to a TV news crew were auto-tuned into a surreal yet catchy hip-hop hit. Today, he is paid for appearances, is a regular on TV and sells catch-phrase-emblazoned merchandise on his
Two months ago, did the name Rebecca Black mean anything to you? What about now, after her mom paid $2,000 (plus another $2,000 to own the master recording, though rights to the song are amid a legal dispute) to a company called
Ark Music Factory
to write and produce a song and video. That tune,
, lampooned for its banal lyrics and auto-tuned aural assault, is a viral phenomenon.
Black's video has reached nearly 102 million hits on YouTube as of this writing. She's appeared on the
and is rumored to be in talks for a recording contract (perhaps not as big a deal as it sounds -- after all, even
had one). Yes, there has been some vicious online mockery and bullying (even death threats, her mom claims). But if the Blacks play their cards right, the young songbird will have some extra cash tucked aside for college.