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How one photo of a dress became an advertising opportunity
Is it blue? Is it white? Whatever color that dress was in a viral photo on Tumblr this week, several news outlets consulted experts to sort it out. - photo by Chandra Johnson
The top trending hashtags on Twitter Thursday night weren't about ISIS or Internet neutrality, but #thedress and #whiteandgold.

That's because for an evening, millions of Internet users were consumed with one question: Was the dress in a viral photo shared on Tumblr blue and black, or white and gold?

Different Internet users saw the colors differently and many media outlets set out not only to find the dress in question Slate even started a live blog for it but to unravel the science behind why different people saw different colors. Taylor Swift swore it was blue and black, while actress Anna Kendrick asserted that "if that's not white and gold, the universe is falling apart."

According to Twitter, the dress debate caused a media feeding frenzy that drove traffic for Buzzfeed through the roof with more than 600,000 people visiting the site to get a glimpse at one time.

The answer, as Wired reported for anyone who's wondering, is that the light in the photo played tricks on the eyes, making it seem like the dress was a different color from its true royal blue and with black lace.

With that kind of traffic potential, the dress also became a marketing tool some social media-savvy brands jumped on.

In a Facebook post, Pinterest got in on the act, saying that "When it comes to #thedress, Pinterest is the best place to search for #blueandblack. Errr... Or is it #whiteandgold?"

Hyundai quickly tweeted a picture of a blue and black sedan, asking "Anyone seeing #whiteandgold?"

"All we see is orange," a Twitter ad from Tide read.

Not everyone was into the game, though. As Mashable reported, plenty of Twitter users took to making memes and venting about how the dress took over for a night.