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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Can the Internet duplicate the star-making power of 'Idol'?

My monthly Boston Globe column looks at a few start-ups -- including one that was acquired by Yahoo last year -- trying to create online talent competitions, a la 'American Idol.'

From the piece:

    The sites are addressing a problem that the Internet era has created for singers, bands, filmmakers, and other creative types: Given how easy it is to post an MP3 music file or a video clip on the Web, and how much content is now accessible, it's increasingly difficult to stand out.

    "You put your stuff on MySpace, and you get lost amidst thousands of bands," says Campbell.

    The talent sites hope to leverage votes and ratings from Internet users to help the cream rise to the top. But one big challenge is preventing users from tipping the scales toward their favorite contestants -- and the contestants themselves from gaming the voting system.

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