HOTorNOT: The forgotten website that shaped the internet

HOTorNOT: The forgotten website that shaped the internet

Before MySpace, before Facebook, before Twitter, before YouTube, before Instagram, before Tinder — there was HOTorNOT.

Created on a lark in 2000, HOTorNOT became what we’d now call an overnight viral hit by letting people upload pictures of themselves to the internet so total strangers could rate their attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10. Twenty years later, it’s a conceit that smacks of the juvenile “edginess” of the early web. It’s now seen at best as superficial and crass, at worst as problematic and potentially offensive. However, the deeper you dive into HOTorNOT’s history, the more surprised you’ll be by the thoughtfulness bubbling below its shallow surface — and its fundamental impact on internet history. Read more…

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