Compare that situation to today, when Grumpy Cat -- an entity that has only been around since late 2012 -- has an estimated net worth of $1 million, and it's easy to see why modern online celebrity is a very different beast.
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Namely, the kind of beast that scores lucrative endorsement deals with Nestle.
The advent of YouTube and social networking has made the entire online world a potential promotion machine, and Tardar Sauce is far from the only Publicly Recognized Internet Thing to capitalize on her memetic fame out in the real world. In fact, it looks like the value of online celebrity is increasing. Take PSY, a K-pop star who had practically zero chance of breaking out internationally, mainly due to the fact that he is a fucking K-pop star. But add one catchy tune, a goofy video, one Internet, stir -- and watch this relatively niche performer turn into a worldwide phenomenon and multimillionaire.
PSY is far from the only one to pull this off. We would probably never have heard of Lily Allen without Myspace. Kim Kardashian originally fled Z-list purgatory to become the ever-present TMZ fodderbeast we all know and ... know, largely thanks to the attention boost provided by the online hype around a certain provocative home recording. Kate Upton, in similarly bouncy but much more joyful fashion, also gained traction on the Internet. Lana Del Rey? Carly Rae Jepsen? Justin goddamn Bieber? Internet, Internet, motherfucking Internet.
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These guys and Tila Tequila? Thanks a bunch, Interjerk.
It's not always necessary to leave the confines of the Internet, either. Online fame alone can be a decent source of notoriety and income, as Smosh, the Epic Rap Battles of History guys, and scores of other Internet entertainers have found. There are people (and animals) who earn money because they just happened to end up as memes, and even actual managers who represent them.