My site was popular with celebrity fans, amateur picture seekers, and people that liked out of this world random content. A lot of my WTF? Gallery was distasteful. I’d post pictures of crime scenes and car wrecks with varying degrees of gore, and I wound up with about five or six members that really liked that type of content.
One of them started talking to me through an instant messenger, and I figured that if I made him the head honcho of an entire section of that kind of content, he would regulate it and I’d be tapping into another subculture of internet users. More users, more popularity. More popularity, more income from ads. The great part of the arrangement was that I could focus on the content I wanted to deliver, and he could focus on the other stuff that I was growing tired of. We’d be working independently under one hat to drive up traffic and our own notoriety.
Thus was born the Sanity Fades section of TheAdviceAsshole.net. The leader of the section started branching out and making new connections with web sites, and driving up memberships and visitors over the next few months. I continued on with the syndication of random pictures and videos. You know how the popular kid in school always gets in trouble for doing something stupid at some point? When you’re weak you make really unwise decisions when you get into a position of “power” and popularity.
I was posting thousands of dollars worth of copyrighted content for public consumption daily, without any sort of buffer between my site and the rest of the world. MSN and Google started ranking me very high on a wide variety of search requests. At one point, typing “Met-Art” into google would link you to threads on my site, containing premium picture sets, ahead of the links to the same pay-only content on Met-Art itself. You can imagine how annoyed they were when they saw sites higher, especially when those sites were distributing their content for free.
I started fielding takedown notices weekly. They started slow, requesting a post in a thread be removed here, an entire topic there. I always responded to the requests and removed the content, and eventually resorted to a disclaimer that linked to a specific form for details on which pages you wanted me to take down. This sated the lawyers for the copyright holders for a while, but it wasn’t enough. The culmination of this battle was a request to remove 127 individual threads that contained proprietary content at once. They were gracious enough to give me 24 hours to remove the content, and if I did not comply within the allotted time, they were going to formerly press charges.
I remember delegating the deletions amongst my staff, and it took the four of us about two hours to go through and remove everything. I decided it was high time to lock the site down, and only allow members to view the content we were posting. I was naive and thought that it would stop the requests, and that we’d be left alone to continue on as we always had.
I restricted access to the existing posts, but they were still indexed in search engines from before the lockdown. My host started to get takedowns, and they were not happy. They’d just lock my site down for hours at a time, since they were afraid for their own well being. They’d wait until I was on the phone with them to open the site up to my IP so I could remove the problem content before they put the site back up for everyone.
After this happened six or seven times over the span of a few weeks, things became contentious between the two factions of my site. I was being forced to censor my part of the site, but it was adversely affecting Sanity Fades, a no-holds-barred harem of debauchery. I really don’t want to go into what was being shared, as I’ll have to pull out some of the horrid imagery buried in the deep recesses of my brain, but I assure you it was egregious.
What started off as a spot for some gory pictures had now devolved into the most wretched hive of scum and villainy. When I came to my senses I was disgraced by my ignorance, and I wanted to shut down the section altogether. My half of the site was on its last legs, and I wanted to consolidate the ‘normal’ members and have a ‘normal’ forum. I killed the porn and Sanity Fades sections, and the SF people got incredibly pissed.
They started to post their content all over my site, so I started deleting the threads. They started to post more and more, so I started banning them. They’d sign up with shill accounts and spread more of the shit around, so I started to ban their IPs. They got together and hit my site with denial of service attacks daily for two weeks.
My host decided to dump me once and for all, and I threw in the towel on the whole Advice Asshole web site. I have suspicions that my one-time friend was helping facilitate the attacks. The instant I shut down my site, SanityFades.com opened up with all the same users that I was removing from mine.
I was going to go all out and slam the guy in this post, but I’m better than that. It’s not my place to speculate about the demons he was facing, or in what state of mind he may have been (if his Sanity hadn’t completely Faded, har har har). It was a cantankerous end to a friendship, and we’ve moved on in the years since. There’s no point in bringing it up to the surface and dealing with all those emotions again.
For three years, I ran a very successful site and had a great time doing it. There were a lot of laughs shared, and I made some really great friendships. Let’s leave it at the good times. A slight validation of my success was that once my domain expired after closing down, the registrar left it as an ad page for three additional years. I know because I was nostalgic and wanted to try again. I went to claim the name and they wanted almost $3,000 for it. It wasn’t worth it then, and it’s not worth the $10 now. The outlet of an angry teenager with emotions he didn’t understand was pivotal, but I don’t need to live in the past.
It’s time to say goodbye to The Advice Asshole one last time, and what better way to do it than by letting everyone in on who shot JR?