Bored Teen’s Palin Prank Boosts NBC

Update: If you’re looking for more information on the Canadians who pranked Sarah Palin by pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy, our post is here. celebrated 25 million unique visits in September, serving almost 29 million short-form video streams. Among the biggest draws to the site were Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin skits, which got more than half of their views on the web. But there is another story here that hasn’t been told yet, a story about a bored Canadian teenager, a rainy day, and an experiment that questions the wisdom of shunning YouTube.


NBC has a long history of sending takedown requests to YouTube, fighting to make Saturday Night Live clips like Dick in a Box or Natalie Portman’s Gangsta Rap disappear from the site. The network apparently also flexed its muscles in the case of the Palin skit, and YouTube complied by adding the clip to its filters. These seem to work fairly well now, and initially only clips from other news programs showing excerpts of the SNL video were available on the site.

Then something odd happened: A video that promised the full version of the sketch shot up YouTube’s charts, getting over 300,000 views in 24 hours — even though all it showed, for some six-plus minutes, was a screengrab of Palin/Fey without any audio whatsoever.

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