‘Genuinely creepy’: Videos of YouTubers buying mystery boxes on the dark web are taking off – Hack


The trend seemed to kick into gear a couple of months ago: after YouTubers had been buying ‘mystery boxes’ off places like eBay and Craigslist, a few took it up a notch.

Young influencers on Youtube started to trade bitcoin for (usually) a box of junk on the dark web, and they recorded the results – racking up millions of views in the process.

This is the internet in 2018: unpredictable, slightly creepy, and – for some reason – captivating.

Skip YouTube Video

FireFox NVDA users – To access the following content, press ‘M’ to enter the iFrame.

It sounds pretty reckless and dangerous….only because it is pretty reckless and dangerous. But that’s all part of the fun of it, says Jarrett and Sable Holt, a brother-and-sister YouTube duo from Los Angeles.

“I always thought it was something that you shouldn’t be doing,” Jarret told Hack.

Jarrett and Sable saw the above video on Youtube a few months ago.

“It sparked in our imaginations,” Jarrett said, “So we thought – why don’t we just do this? I know people have ordered different boxes from Amazon and eBay and stuff. I was like, alright let’s see what we can get from the dark web.”

The pair handed over $1000 USD worth of bitcoin (don’t worry, they tell Hack, they bought their bitcoin ages ago; they really only lost $150 of their own money, they say) to an unknown seller on a dark web marketplace. They gave them their postal address, and about six weeks later a package showed up on their doorstep.

“We took it in the house, and we were like, let’s just make a video about this. At the time, obviously we were nervous…. At that time, I was thinking, ‘Hmm, I dunno about this’.

Inside the pair found Uno cards, a shoe, a foul-smelling bag (“It smelt like cat shit? But worse,” Jarrett said), a comb with hair on it, a license plate reading ‘Jennifer’, some jewelry, and other random junk covered in white powder.

Their video, revealing all of this in twenty minutes, has over half a million hits.

Skip YouTube Video

FireFox NVDA users – To access the following content, press ‘M’ to enter the iFrame.

Why are unboxing videos so popular?

The idea of vloggers filming themselves opening up a box of mystery items didn’t come out of nowhere: ‘unboxing’ videos on YouTube have become an unstoppable, viral internet subculture – according to Jarrod Walczer, a doctoral candidate at QUT and a research assistant at the Digital Media Research Centre.

Jarrod’s research has focused on children’s culture online – where unboxing videos rack up billions of views, amass adoring fans, and make their bedroom-dwelling creators a fortune.

“In its simplest form, an unboxing video is pretty much what it sounds like in the name, it’s a person opening up a thing and filming themselves doing it,” Jarrod told Hack.

Typically unboxing videos feature toys, makeup hauls, beauty products, or things like the new iPhone. But there isn’t really a ‘typical’ unboxing video anymore, Jarrod says.

“There really is no limit to what products can be unboxed – Weird Al Yankovic unboxed his Grammy award, I’ve seen Mike Tyson do unboxing of toys, I’ve seen unboxings of everything from microwaves to chainsaws to live tarantulas.

When mystery box unboxing videos started to pop up online within the last year, creators were just adding another layer of curiosity to their videos, Jarrod says.

“People are always interested in using media as a way to experience things that they themselves might not be able to have in real life. I can absolutely see where this subgenre [of mystery box unboxing] within a subgenre of unboxing could become a really viral thing.”

Mystery boxes in Australia

Some of the most popular videos of mystery boxes bought off the dark web come from the US and the UK; but it’s definitely possible to buy mystery boxes online in Australia.

There’s listings on eBay that will ship to you in Australia; and there’s this listing on Gumtree, featuring an intensely sinister image of a package, a cat’s tail, and curling toenails.

There’s also heaps of listings on dark web marketplaces that Hack found you could buy in Australia, if you’re willing to handover some bitcoin for it.

Mystery boxes available for purchase on the dark web

Obviously though, there’s no guarantee of what you’ll get, and the lack of traceability on the dark web means you could be sent some really dodgy stuff.

Or you could get sent a box of nothing.

Jarrod says audiences have questioned the authenticity of some unboxing videos; but if they are fake, their creators have managed to build incredibly compelling story arcs for their viewers.

At the end of the day, Jarrod says, mystery box unboxings are a glossy form of escapism.

“Much like a lot of horror movies, these videos are built to be entertainment.”





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *