ABSTRACT

In 2007, e-commerce types were agog at the success of American teenager Ashley Qualls. By the time she was seventeen, Qualls was making over $1 million per year from Whateverlife.com, the busy pink website she designed to market MySpace page layouts. Market is not quite the right word, though. Her layouts and addon weren’t for sale. They were free. Her income came from advertising. Because Whateverlife.com gets more than 60 million hits per month, exceeding the circulation of several of the most popular English-language teen magazines combined, it supplies advertisers with a valuable commodity: the eyeballs of teenage girls. Qualls, or AshBo as she calls herself, started Whateverlife.com in 2004. By 2007, she had expanded her site into a sort of community for girls, a go-to site where girls could fi nd tutorials for making their own layouts as well as a variety of images, banners, captions, buttons, and boxes for decorating their MySpace pages. In addition to the revenue-generating ads, Whateverlife.com (with its growing staff of writers and designers) features a magazine and a link to AshBo’s blog on her MySpace page.