Hot or Not

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Hot or Not is a rating site that allows users to rate the attractiveness of photos submitted voluntarily by others. The site also offers a match making engine called 'Meet Me' and an extended profile feature called 'HOTLISTS'.



Photos are approved by a panel of volunteer moderators, who strive to keep the site "fun, clean, and real". However, in recent times there have been changes to the moderating system, see below.


The site was founded in October 2000 by James Hong and Jim Young, two friends and Silicon Valley-based engineers. Both graduated from UC Berkeley in electrical engineering, with Young pursuing a Ph.D at the time.

The site was a technical solution to a disagreement they made one day over a passing woman's attractiveness. The site was originally called "Am I Hot or Not". Within a week of launching, it had reached almost two million page views per day. Within a few months, the site was immediately behind CNET and NBCi on NetNielsen Rating's Top 25 advertising domains. To keep up with rising costs Hong and Young added a matchmaking component to their website called "Meet Me at Hot or Not", i.e. a system of range voting.[1][2] The matchmaking service has been especially successful and the site continues to generate most of its revenue through subscriptions. In the December 2006 issue of Time Magazine, the founders of YouTube stated that they originally set out to make a version of Hot or Not with Video before developing their more inclusive site. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook similarly got his start by creating a Hot or Not type site called FaceMash, where he posted photos from Harvard's facebook for the university's community to rate.

Hot or Not was sold for a rumored $20 million on February 8, 2008.[3] Annual revenue was estimated at $5 million, with net profits of $2 million. They initially started off $60,000 in debt due to tuition fees James paid for his MBA.[4] On July 31, 2008, Hot or Not launched Hot or Not Gossip and a celebrity rate box (a "hot meter") - a sub division to expand their market which is run by former radio DJ, turned celebrity blogger, Zack Taylor.

Some months after the sale of the site it dropped customer service, emails to the customer service address now go unanswered, the Hotornot moderators messageboard was also deleted around the same time.

Predecessors and Spin-offs

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