If you didn’t know otherwise, you would probably expect his domains to be global news websites. If you were in the know, however, you would understand they are a network of spoof news platforms created by Jameel A Mendoza, a 33-year old New Yorker with a sense for satire and business.
It is fair to say that this is a guy who saw a gap in the market and quickly hit the ground running with his solution. No, he is not the only person to create fake news content for satirical purposes—nor is he the only one to own a network of fake news websites—but his content has consistently proved to be among some of the most read and shared online. He has found a strategy that works, and it has proved to be pretty lucrative for him.
Fake news gets a bad press, and there has been a particular focus on it in the last few years. But, that is fake news that has been made to convince people that it is true, to encourage the reader to have a particular opinion on something, or even persuade them into making a certain action (such as voting a certain way). But Jameel, and those who publish similar fake news content, are not in the business to do any of the above; they just want to hook the reader in with a catchy (and sometimes hilarious) title and provide the reader with a made-up story played purely for laughs. If you think about it, it’s the perfect content to share on social media—and social media is exactly where this kind of thing finds its viewers. Of course, those creating and marketing this kind of content stand to be rewarded by the vast amount of hits, with some ad revenue when a user clicks through to their main site.
The money that is to be made in this niche might surprise you – with Mendoza being able to celebrate over a million dollars in revenue within the first 3 years with network that is constantly growing.
As mentioned, TMZWorldStarNews is just one site in a whole network put together by Jameel. Mendoza had even been using some similarly named URLs such as TMZHipHop, TMZUrban, TMZUncut and TMZWorldNews to showcase his made up stories, all scoring a large number of hits. More recently, some of the TMZ domains have started to redirect to Jameel’s newer websites, which include ViralCocaine.com and ViralMugshot.com. He has created his own franchise of spoof news websites, and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here!