A social baby naming startup that made international headlines last week after it claimed to have offered a mother-to-be $5,000 in exchange for allowing the Internet to name her baby has confessed to making the whole thing up.
The hoax, which fooled countless websites and was even spoofed on this weekend's SNL, was exposed by TODAY Moms after they received a tip from reader.
It seems the woman who allegedly won Belly Ballot's baby-naming contest isn't actually a pregnant art teacher named Natasha Hill, but rather a professional actress named Natasha Lloyd who is very much not pregnant.
"We came up with the idea for the contest and we knew it would be controversial," Belly Ballot founder Lacey Moler told TODAY. "But we're a start-up and we wanted to control the situation."
Contrary to Moler's initial claims that 80 women participated in the contest, not a single person actually entered. So Lloyd was hired to play the winner for an unspecified sum.
"We never thought it would get this big," Moler said.
But they certainly hoped it would, and they definitely made the most of their ill-gotten gains.
On its website, under "recent buzz," Belly Ballot still boasts mentions by such media outlets as Parents, NPR, and even TODAY.