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Snarky reviews can sell anything -- even ugly shirts

May 22, 2009 | 11:46 am

They must be relatives of the wolves on Three Wolf Moon T-shirt. Credit: star5112 via Flickr.

When it comes to T-shirts, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. You might love your human anatomy T-shirt that shows guts, while your girlfriend might be more partial to the bright orange behemoth she bought to wear to the Lakers game.

But it's hard to dispute that the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt would be at the top of anyone's ugly list. It shows three wolves howling at a moon that is tinged by some sort of green fog, which could just be wolf halitosis. Which is why it's a little surprising that it's the top apparel item on Amazon right now. It's been one of the top 100 bestselling Amazon apparel items for 18 days now. It even beat out Crocs and an ugly baby yoga T-shirt!

The shirt, made by a New Hampshire company called the Mountain, rocked to popularity after reviewers mock-plugged the shirt.

"After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women," one wrote. Another, who also gave it five stars, commented that "Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather." A third wrote that after he wore the shirt, he was more popular with the ladies and that he could "expect to be promoted to cashier soon."

Nearly 500 people have reviewed the shirt thus far, with 374 giving five-star reviews. Some bemoaned that five was not enough stars.

The Mountain at first wasn't sure what to make of the comments.

"Some say: 'Bad publicity is better than no publicity at all. We however disagree if it's at the expense of others in a Classist, Racist or Prejudice manner,' " it wrote in a posting on Amazon.

It seems to have capitalized on the reviews since then, though. Its website boasts that it's the home of the "hottest shirt on-line." Mountain promises a Four Wolf Moon T-shirt is coming soon. Whether sales of other products, such as the shirt picturing a dragon wrapped around a tree, or the one showing Native Americans with their faces painted with stars and strips, have skyrocketed too is unclear.

It makes you wonder though -- who would buy a T-shirt just because it's accompanied by an ironic review? Those who bought the shirt also looked at Zubaz striped pants and a tube of Uranium Ore, according to Amazon. Maybe these people just appreciate strange things. Ugliness is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.

-- Alana Semuels