The concerns others levied against HOTorNOT were ones the founders themselves wrestled with at first
The HOTorNOT craze also amazed their Silicon Valley friends because Young and Hong were one of the first web engineers to get some social cache and fame from outside of their insular tech-nerd circles.
“Being a Silicon Valley founder definitely wasn’t cool then. “But they had tapped into a pretty mainstream audience. They were like mini-celebrities in a world where there weren’t a lot of celebrities created via the internet.”
A New Yorker writer profiling “The Hot or Not Guys (opens in a new tab) ” even followed them around Entertainment Weeklys exclusive “It List” party in 2002. Thrust into the glitz and glam, Hong was shocked to discover beautiful women whod never give him the time of day before were suddenly captivated after hearing he was behind HOTorNOT. Not because of any presumption of riches, but because people saw the site as imbuing him with some sort of magical ability to be an objective arbiter of attractiveness. Their newfound popularity baffled the two co-founders, with Young describing it as “awful.” It was a stark contrast to the reality of exactly how unglamorous their jobs actually were.
One persons 4 is inevitably someone elses 8, a platitude that the internet helped validate
“Were not even hot ourselves, so who were we to talk? We were not the type of people with any right to go around judging people on their hotness,” said Hong. “We saw HOTorNOT more as a tool where you could get an honest assessment from people if you wanted it.”
Famously, they put up a three-story billboard on the side of their datacenter on 365 Main St. Read more