Gabrielle Bluestone

Hype

How Scammers, Grifters, and Con Artists Are Taking Over the Internet―and Why We're Following

Hanover Square Press, April 2021

From former Vice journalist and executive producer of hit Netflix documentary Fyre comes an eye-opening look at the con artists, grifters and snake oil salesmen of the digital age—and why we can’t stop falling for them.

We live in an age where scams are the new normal. A charismatic entrepreneur sells thousands of tickets to a festival that never happened. Respected investors pour millions into a start-up centered around fake blood tests. Reviewers and celebrities flock to London’s top-rated restaurant that’s little more than a backyard shed. These unsettling stories of today’s viral grifters have risen to fame and hit the front-page headlines, yet the curious conundrum remains: Why do these scams happen?

Drawing from scientific research, marketing campaigns, and exclusive documents and interviews, former Vice reporter Gabrielle Bluestone delves into the irresistible hype that fuels our social media ecosystem, whether it’s from the trusted influencers that peddled Fyre or the consumer reviews that sold Juicero. A cultural examination that is as revelatory as it is relevant, Hype pulls back the curtain on the manipulation game behind the never-ending scam season—and how we as consumers can stop getting played.

Hype is the best kind of nonfiction: juicy, sharp, savage and wildly entertaining, with a celebrity behaving badly on every page. What more could you want?”

—Cat Marnell, New York Times-bestselling author of How to Murder Your Life

“A deep dive into the depressing world of grifters, bullsh*t artists, plagiarists and long con experts turbocharged by the Internet— and what, if anything, separates those scammers from some of our most respected captains of industry. Fyre Festival, Bluestone makes clear, may have been a low-water mark so far in the history of empty hype– but the tide, as ever, just keeps rolling out.”

—Anna Merlan, author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power