The Next Big Thing
"Holy shit, we haven't see shares this hot since Google's auction," says a spokesman for NASDAQ, where Rejects.com is listed under the symbol X:0)X.
The company was started by two former Photobucket entry-level employees who, until they formed the new company, were screening several thousand photos each day.
"One day, it just dawned on us that we were taking out all the pictures that everybody REALLY wanted to see--you know, the naked girls drunk at spring break, the body parts in various stages of, uh, excitement," says Nihadra Sepkuppi, who now has a personal net worth of over $800 million. "Rather than delete the pix that we couldn't post to the sites nervous about upsetting potential advertisers, we slapped them up on Rejects.com and opened the doors."
In the 90 days since the site has been up, Rejects.com has become the No.1 destination on the Internet, with more traffic than Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and Facebook.com combined. "Fortunately, we were able to snap up a bunch of underused AOL servers to handle our traffic," says Sepkuppi.
Interestingly, the primary access to the site appears to come from offices during working hours, with .edu domains a distant second. "I'd say it's eating up about 65 percent of our bandwidth," says an IT director of a company he begs we not mention.
The IPO documentation indicates that Rejects.com takes advertising from alcoholic beverages, gambling, and porn sites, and that ad revenues had reached $150 million in about 75 days.
"We are all about being contextually relevant," says founder and ad director Ramelama Dinhgdhong, in a cell phone call from his new cherry red Bugatti Veyron. "Most of our photos are of naked teenagers and college kids doing incredibly stupid, often life-threatening things, clearly under the influence of controlled substances--so booze, gambling, and porn seemed a natural fit. Besides, the pent-up demand was astounding."
Although the Christian Right has called for a boycott of the site and its advertisers, it seems to have had little effect on Rejects.com's raging success. "The publicity is like manna from heaven," says Dinhgdhong. "Every time Jerry Falwell or The Christian Coalition of America mentions our site, traffic spikes about 30 percent. I am really hoping they can pull off that mass march on our offices next Easter. We'll have to add about 500 more servers."
Neither of the founders, who are rich beyond filthy, plans to retire. "We just got out of high school," says Sepkuppi. "Who knows how much more money we can make when we know what we're doing."