It may not be as controversial as JuicyCampus.com, but TheDirty.com is turning up the heat in its own right by enabling Internet users to pave their road to stardom on this online reality blog.
Nearly six months ago, founder Nik Richie, in a similar fashion to the infamous internet blogger Perez Hilton, found his nine-to-five office job growing tiresome, so he began working on this reality-based website during his lunch break.
According to Richie, the goal for his website was “to take different elements from TMZ, Craigslist and Perez Hilton to create the most entertaining website geared towards college students.”
Similar to YouTube, TheDirty.com is accessible to anyone from selective colleges to upload the most embarrassing, raunchy pictures or videos of them or their friends on the website for millions to see. The website’s goal is to give these typical, rowdy college students their own claim to fame by making fools of themselves, similar to reality-based television shows like “Jackass” or — sadly — “The Hills.”
“Reality TV is super successful, and I thought what would be great is to have reality Internet,” Richie said. “And TheDirty.com itself is kind of a platform for third parties to make celebrities out of normal people, whether it’s their neighbor or a person they see at a club getting drunk, whether it’s an athlete and so on.”
Some may argue this sounds vaguely familiar, maybe even a remake of Facebook, since it is geared toward college students. Facebook is a social network that is mainly used within a close circle of friends or classmates, whereas TheDirty.com reaches a larger audience, dramatically transforming from a small gossip website to a full-blown, real-life comic strip in the short time since it first hit the Internet. So, instead of reading an “intensely dramatic newsfeed” informing the public that “Sarah is doing her laundry and then going tanning,” TheDirty.com offers far more entertaining news. Breaking top stories like the big break up between Hugh Heffner and Holly Madison, Richie looks to his “Dirty army,” as he likes to call it, to get the scoop on big stories and gain notoriety for their website.
Although the website may come off as degrading or scandalous, Richie assures the public it is all in good fun, stating, “Anyone is able to submit, but only 50 percent of submissions make the website because the other half are either too personal or too raunchy.” The website also does not accept nudity and aims to appeal to a wide range of people. According to Richie, “As far as age demographics, our fans are anywhere from 18 to being in their 50s. And what 50-year-old male wouldn’t love blogging about which member of the Tampa Bay Breeze lingerie football team has the most “natural beauty?”
When creating the website, being the avid college sports fan that he is, Richie looked to larger academic institutions and top football teams to determine which universities he would include submissions from. But, with the increasing popularity of the website, this may change in the near future.
According to Richie, “[TheDirty.com is] planning to expand to 60 new colleges hopefully by January.”
Also to expand business, the website has had success creating its own live blogs at events like Edgefest, a concert tour that takes place in Phoenix, Ariz. According to Richie, “We thought it would be kind of cool to do some live blogging at the venue so we put out a camera on stage that showed the audience on the JumboTron, and as I was doing it, it was actually going live to the site, so if you were not actually at Edgefest you could feel like you were kind of there on that day. We are definitely planning on doing Edgefest next year and other events, especially college events.”
And the website also goes all out when celebrating holidays, particularly Halloween. According to Richie, “We have had two parties already; one was in Orange County, and we had a red carpet event last night [Oct. 29] in L.A., and Carmen Electra and a couple other big name celebs were there.”
Richie also said he uses these events to promote his ready-made celebrities. “The events are just offshoots of the website because you get these people who become Internet celebrities from the site, and then we invite them out to the events, and people can actually see that they are normal, real people.” This is clearly not as stereotypical as hiring a hot girl to be the “best friend” of a hit reality T.V. star — Audrina Patridge, anyone? — and TheDirty.com promotes people being themselves rather then acting just to entertain.
Take it for what it is worth, the blunt portrayal of TheDirty.com does not aim to please everyone, but it is real and definitely entertains the masses.