Porn is the new Tumblr. It seems that everyone with a CS degree and a little free time is trying to cash in (or at least dabble) in the world of online sexuality, a happenstance that I’d chalk up to the ubiquitousness of boobies online and the potential for perceived riches. But what inspires a pair of designers and artists to create a site that essentially catalogs every NSFW GIF they can find?
I had to find out.
To be clear, the site [THIS IS A NSFW LINK. DO NOT CLICK IT AT WORK OR EVER] is very NSFW. It’s also quite basic – you simply press your mouse button to slide through one image after the other in a cavalcade of protuberances and pneumatic efforts that brings to mind Chaplin’s Modern Times crossed with Skinemax. Seriously. Don’t click the link. It’s porn. Instead, let’s talk to Raj and Katie, founders of the site. They preferred to remain somewhat anonymous.
John Biggs: Why did you guys make this?
Raj: Serendipity. In the beginning, in order to ramp up on some new technologies, I built a webapp to pull the most popular animated gifs from the web and present them one after another. I honestly expected kitties, Batman, and Kermit the frog. Instead, the gifs ended up being 99% porn. The next day, I told 6 friends about this happy accident, and by the end of the week, we were getting 200 unique visitors daily. Chris (the designer) has since transformed my clever hack into a polished user experience, Kevin (the hustler) is exploring innovative business models, and Katie (the ballerina) has helped forge our brand and identity. We use the site ourselves, and we’ve just been kindling the fire – it feels like the project has taken on a life of its own.
These are some of the responses to our site on Reddit.
JB: Who are you guys?
Raj: I’m equal parts hacker and guitarist at heart, Chris is an artist, Kevin is a hustler, and Katie is a choreographer. We’re a group of friends, and we each bring unique talents to the table. We love working together. At the moment, we’re building a porn site. Next time, we might record a rock album.
Quick story: A few months ago, we were trying to figure out where to take our product, so I issued Chris a No Fap Challenge. I asked him to not spank it to any porn site other than The Worst Drug for as long as possible. Chris lasted 3 days. He came back to me and told me that he couldn’t get off without video – so along with animated gifs, HTML5 video became our next major feature.
JB: There seems to be a trend of women working on porn startups. Why?
Katie: As porn becomes more mainstream, disrupting the current tech is fair game for anyone who isn’t afraid of it. This includes the kind of
savvy and self-governing women who would abandon their kitchens and venture into the tech world in the first place. That’s my guess
anyway. For me it was happenstance that the content was porn. These GIFs reveal the usually obscured popular content of the Internet.
Imagine observing the planet from a distance, swiping through what we look at, laugh at, get aroused by, and share with each other. I was
initially surprised, even shocked, that what we captured was basically all porn, but then I had to laugh. I love this big world of happy,
normal, clever, horny people. We’re sexy.
JB: Why porn? Why now?
Raj: We’re driven by a particular philosophy. Recent studies have shown that there’s little correlation between porn use and deviant/risky sexual behavior. Researchers have also been looking into why porn is addictive. I’ve been trolling on 4chan for years, and I think that watching porn makes you a better person. It’s always my belief that knowledge is more powerful than ignorance, and porn is a particular type of knowledge.
Also, there’s nothing in our algorithms that limits our content to porn. Our site simply pulls in the most popular animated gifs as determined by web users around the world. It just happens to be the case that these GIFs are all porn – we’re reflecting the world back at itself.
JB: How will you make money?
We don’t know – do you have any money?
We’ve bootstrapped ourselves so far, and we’ve been able to cover our operating expenses. For the moment, we’re focused on building the best user experience that we can.
Unrelated: Our name (The Worst Drug) reflects the addictive nature of the site. Chris chose our logo font because it looks like something that you’d see on a bottle of prescription pills – and it feels a little dirty, but still somehow clean. Our ‘u’ is a forward arrow key, as you can hit that key instead of clicking the image.
JB: Do your parents know what you’re doing?
Raj: My parents have no idea what I’m doing. My parents have never had any idea what I’ve been up to. They still don’t know that I once stole a nice pen from K-Mart in 6th grade. (I hope that my parents don’t read TechCrunch.)
Katie: Yes, and my mom loves the site! She’s offered suggestions for the UI, and she’s even Tweeted about us to her 17 followers. Her response is flattering, but I question her taste, because I also showed her Two Girls, One Cup, and she thought it was hilarious and didn’t throw up in her mouth at all.
JB: What’s your favorite kitten picture?