is a United States
-hosted shock site
with a slogan of "An archive of disturbing illustration" operated by Soylent Communications
It is devoted to morbid curiosities, primarily pictures of violent acts, deformities, autopsy or forensic photographs, depictions of perverse sex acts, and historical curios that are disturbing or misanthropic in nature.
The site was founded in 1996, and its format has changed very little since then.
Rotten.com was started by a California Bay Area BBS sysop in 1996. According to the rotten.com FAQ, it began as "a 'what should I do with this domain now that I blew a hundred bucks on it' exercise.
On an April 1997 morning, talk-radio host Howard Stern surfed rotten.com live on national radio. Traffic jumped in one day from 4,500 people a day to 50,000. The site had to be closed down for a few days from the massive bandwidth increase.
The Daily Rotten
In late 1999, The Daily Rotten
was started. This site, updated daily, contains links to news
articles that decidedly cover the more bizarre, macabre and unpleasant side of life. Stories of terrorism
, cruelty, excrement and abuse
are the staple fare of this site. Daily Rotten, also known as Rotten News, is driven by user submissions which are edited by a self-described Rotten Staff Duder
. This also features comments for each one of the articles, posted by the registered members; they usually bring similar histories or gruesome images. They refer to themselves as rotteneers
, a satirical reference to Walt Disney
The events of September 11, 2001 were featured heavily on The Daily Rotten pages, a fact that the creators acknowledge as contributing to the popularity of the site.
The Gaping Maw
, the Rotten staff started up The Gaping Maw
, an editorial
/commentary archive. Most of the articles were written by cartoonist Tristan Farnon
under the alias "Spigot" (Jerkcity
, Leisure Town
) and other associates, containing news satire
and general rumination on modern society
. Along with the Rotten Library, this has improved Rotten's standing in many communities since it has put an intellectual, humane side to what was otherwise considered a puerile "shock" site. On the afternoon of June 22
, "The Gaping Maw" went dark to comply with new governmental bookkeeping requirements regarding the distribution of pornography
, specifically governmental age-verification of models, under the 18 U.S.C. 2257
. All articles were taken down, and the site's title page was replaced with a statement lamenting the passage of the laws, headed by the banner "CENSORED BY US GOVERNMENT." In January 2006, "The Gaping Maw" came back online with some articles still unpublishable, others heavily-edited.
Rotten launched boners.com in response to those viewers who wanted a page with daily pictures alongside the news articles of Daily Rotten. Generally, a page will be updated with five or so viewer submitted pictures. Usually containing a funny sign or street name, snowmen in sexual positions or accidental public displays of nudity.
Rotten Dead Pool
In November 2003
, the Rotten Dead Pool
was launched. This is a game
in which players pick ten people they believe will die
over the course of the next twelve months. A point is awarded to a player for each of their picks
who dies over the twelve months (unless the deceased is executed
and was awaiting execution at the time they were picked, is murdered by the player, or is picked after their death). It has not been publicly stated by the site what the winner gets, if anything.
In mid-2004, Rotten launched NNDB
, a so-called intelligence aggregator. This is a growing website that lists information (birth, death, job history, religious beliefs, biography, sexuality) about thousands of notable people.
An ancillary site off Rotten is Sports Dignity, a gallery of pictures, most of which are of athletes exposing their genitalia, flipping off
the camera, or sporting huge gashes and injuries.
Other ancillary sites
Among many of Rotten's ancillary sites are Several "Rate my" sites such as "rate my kitten" "rate my finger" "rate my boobs" "rate my boner" "rate my doodle" and even "rate my poo".
Rotten.com has been threatened with lawsuits many times over the years, most in form of cease and desist
citations. These range from serious matters (requests to remove pictures of dead relatives from the site) to the almost comical (Burlington Coat Factory asking them to take down trenchcoat.org, a Trenchcoat Mafia
webpage). On 24 June 2005
, the federal government ordered that the "Fuck of the Month" section of the site be removed (along with content from several ancillary sites) due to insufficient record-keeping. In posting the page's removal notice, the site's moderator criticized supporters of both Alberto Gonzales
and the Bush Administration
for the enablement of censorship.
- (2004). The I Hate Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice Reader. Avalon Publishing. ISBN 1-56025-620-6. (pp.194-204 consists of the Rotten Library entry for John Ashcroft)