Drake and Rihanna fans went crazy Tuesday when a site -- drakeandrihanna.com -- popped up with a countdown clock ... starting rumors they were releasing a collab together.
We know now the site is completely fake, and TMZ has learned the hoax was started because Drake pissed off one vengeful fan ... Joanne the Scammer.
Joanne is a character played by Branden Miller. He tells us ... he made the fake site as payback for Drake not taking a selfie with Joanne at the VMAs. Branden claims he got bum-rushed by security when he tried to take the shot.
He says he went home and created the site, which cost about $3k. It blew up, but when people found out it was a hoax he decided to reveal why he did it.
Branden's still pissed, and says he might keep the site up to taunt Drake with other pranks.