The Journey of William Sledd: From The Gap to YouTube Stardom to Bravo to…the Local Bank

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Rocketing to early fame on YouTube (s GOOG) could lead to three things: living the dream, getting disappointed and moving on, or milking your one hit for all it’s got — at least according to a sample set of four surveyed by CNET’s Michelle Meyers. Unfortunately, none of the four seem to be living the dream just yet — most notably William Sledd, who in mid-2007 had the fourth-most-subscribed channel on YouTube.

Sledd, known for his snarky “Hey Bitches!” fashion commentary videos, doesn’t work at The Gap anymore. But he doesn’t work in online video either. He manages social media for a local Kentucky Bank. His YouTube channel, only updated every few months now, still has 119,850 subscribers. His bank’s Facebook page has 1,573 fans and Twitter account has 129 followers.

That’s a dramatic turn from a couple years ago, when it looked like Sledd might make a career in the entertainment business. In 2007 he scored a deal to produce his web series Ask a Gay Man for Bravo’s (s GE) OutZoneTV.com. That site is now defunct.

Coincidentally, we talked about Sledd earlier this week with Mari Katsunuma, VP of Bravo Digital Media. She said Bravo ultimately decided it couldn’t justify the time spent finding advertising for such a niche property. So the network, like just about all of its competitors, is now putting its online dollars towards derivative rather than original web content.

CNET also interviewed Matt Harding, of Where the Hell Is Matt?, whose latest way to capitalize on his charismatically awkward dancing is a book; the Diet Coke and Mentos guys (aka Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe of EepyBird), who continue to coordinate painstaking and beautiful fountains of snack food and drink at events around the world, and say they’re working on a TV pilot for the fall; and Melody Oliveria, aka Bowiechick, who famously vlogged a breakup using digital effects, and is now engaged to one of her YouTube fans — but generously excuses today’s viewers’ proclivity for “people with actual talent.”

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