The wired, wacky and wonderful people of the Internet

How WebTV stars got their fame

Net celebrities are making their way from the Internet to TV in VH1's search for the 40 Greatest Internet Superstars. In the lead up to the show's March 23 premier, Internet users have been asked to vote from 51 bloggers, comedians, and some very odd characters to determine who makes the celebrity A-list of the cyber world.

Just what does it take to be an Internet celebrity? Liz Tay speaks with some of VH1's nominees for an insight into the WWW - that's the wired, wacky, and wonderful - hall of fame.

The wired

Perez Hilton

Short, sharp rhetoric and clumsily edited photos make up what claims to be Hollywood's most-hated Web site, PerezHilton.com. Thanks to the antics of Britney, AnJo and the site's namesake, Paris, PerezHilton.com boasts an average of 3.5 million visitors a day, making its creator, Mario Armando Lavandeira, somewhat of a celebrity in his own right.

The blog has been popular since its inception in 2005, when Lavandeira, a self-proclaimed 'tech idiot', discovered how simple blogging can be. Daily updates, exclusive audio and video content kept viewers hooked, while Lavandeira's original stories and sharp nose for the latest gossip earned him the respect of gossip columnists in the mainstream media.

"I've always taken my blog seriously," Lavandeira said. "It was [always] updated daily, and now I update it several times an hour. When I'm blogging, I've never wanted to talk about myself, because I'm boring, and I think that's what sets me apart from other blogs."

Lavandeira's blog is 'not just a traditional blog', he said, as he sets out to actively and aggressively break stories. PerezHilton.com was there when Britney divorced ex-husband Kevin Federline and when Neil Patrick Harris was outed for his homosexual relationship with David Burtka. And when Lavandeira broke the news of Angelina Jolie's relationship with Brad Pitt, an unexpected ten-fold surge in readership brought the blog crashing down.

"Everything in my life has prepared me for what I'm doing now," he said. "I've been a journalist in the past, I've been a publicist, I've been an actor, so I know how the three groups of people think, feel, behave, what they want, what they need, and how to deal with them, and that all informs what I do now."

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Liz Tay

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