Last Monday, a Seattle web developer named Jason Fortuny started a Craigslist experiment. The goal: “Posing as a submissive woman looking for an aggressive dom, how many responses can we get in 24 hours?”

He took the text and photo from a sexually explicit ad in another area, reposted it to Craigslist Seattle, and waited for the responses to roll in. Like Simon’s experiment, the response was immediate. He wrote, “178 responses, with 145 photos of men in various states of undress. Responses include full e-mail addresses (both personal and business addresses), names, and in some cases IM screen names and telephone numbers.”

In a staggering move, he then published every single response, unedited and uncensored, with all photos and personal information to Encyclopedia Dramatica (kinda like Wikipedia for web fads and Internet drama).

Instantly, commenters on the LiveJournal thread started identifying the men. Dissenters emailed the guys to let them know they were scammed. Several of them were married, which has led to what will likely be the first of many separations. One couple in an open marriage begged that their information be removed, as their religious family and friends weren’t aware of their lifestyle. Another spotted a fellow Microsoft employee, based on their e-mail address. And it’s really just the beginning, since the major search engines haven’t indexed these pages yet. After that, who knows? Divorces, firings, lawsuits, and the assorted hell that come from having your personal sex life listed as the first search result for your name.

Jason Fortuny’s web server is up or down depending on traffic. (One commenter claims to live in the same apartment building as Fortuny.) Other recent mentions include BBC News, Wired’s Ryan Singel has coverage and a response to commenters. The New York Times article is slated for tomorrow.

  1. Mr. H. Fusion says:

    …Understand the facts before showing your stupidity.
    Comment by Narg — 9/11/2006 @ 5:12 pm

    Aahhh, c’mon Narg, if they understood the facts, they wouldn’t be so stupid and we wouldn’t have anything to laugh at.

  2. rofl says:

    rofl – forwarding this link to all my M$ ppls…

  3. nathaniel says:

    I would say users have an expectation that the terms of service will be upheld by other parties when they use a web site. In fact, it may be legally binding (IANAL, etc). Looks like he violated three of them at least.

    From the Craigslist Terms of Service:

    7. CONDUCT

    You agree not to post, email, or otherwise make available Content:

    g) that impersonates any person or entity, including, but not limited to, a
    craigslist employee, or falsely states or otherwise misrepresents your
    affiliation with a person or entity (this provision does not apply to Content
    that constitutes lawful non-deceptive parody of public figures.);

    h) that includes personal or identifying information about another person
    without that person’s explicit consent;

    i) that is false, deceptive, misleading, deceitful, misinformative, or
    constitutes “bait and switch”;

  4. Carl S. says:

    Comment 34 says it all. Plus it’s so sad when people feel the need to justify thier need to yank someones chain with smugness.

    And BTW, sex ain’t a bad thing.

  5. ECA says:

    but it is STILL careless….
    Under ANY concern, it was CARELESS…

    I might have sent my cantact info for a Chat, and then gone to Video, AT THE LEAST, to see the identity… And talked FIRST.
    But sending grphic pictures, WITHOUT knowing WHOM you are talking to…
    Is Equal to Drinking till you are WIPED, going home with someone, waking up and wondering WHERE YOU ARE, What you did, and if the Dog is pregnant.

  6. OmarTheAlien says:

    Like Stewart would say; a moment of zen, Sponge Bob going down on a guppy, with the windows open.

  7. Mr. H. Fusion says:

    For all of those who want to blame the victim. GET A LIFE !!! This idea of “don’t expect anything” is just plain wrong. I don’t expect anyone to steal my car, so don’t make it my fault if they do. I don’t expect anyone to steal my identification, or TP my yard, or any number of things that are wrong. I don’t advertise my vehicle is there, or hang my ID in the public window, or try to offend the neighbors.

    This a**hole fraudulently enticed people to reply to a private e-mail address. He then used that information to publicly embarrass them. What he did was wrong, actionable, and quite possibly criminal. It doesn’t matter if the victims were duped or conned, unless they did something illegal they are the victims.

    I hope the a**hole has a good insurance policy because he is going down.

  8. I guess some people are simply horny, and let their balls do the thinking, eh?

  9. Dougless says:

    #38 You don’t expect someone to steal your car – but you certainly don’t leave it unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

  10. Smartalix says:

    The bottom line is that what the people who are complaining were engaging in was illicit conduct. The ones that were single and honest probably enjoy the attention this has given them.

  11. I didn’t get sued.

    I didn’t get killed.

    I didn’t get beat up.

    My city prosecutor says what I did was perfectly legal.

    I’m laughing at all of you.

  12. Joe says:

    You could have a case to sue if someone else sent in your info to this guy. Then this guy would be liable for slander.

  13. Medeia Payne says:

    What happened to me and to two other people I’ve been in contact with over the past three weeks (as a direct result of having been serial posters on San Francisco Bay Area Craisgslist Missed Connections and Rants/Raves) is not nearly as enticing and media-frenzy-feeding-worthy as the sex-baiting scandal perpetrated by the festering pustule on the ass of humanity known as Jason Fortuny. What people need to become keenly aware of is that the Craigslist site is being used by its employees and their friends to victimize people they deem worthy of receiving a “dose of reality” for whatever reason. According to a response I received to a brief email I wrote to Jason Fortuny last night, emotionally devastated and traumatized people who are in the throes of experiencing major grief in their lives also deserve to be punked, phreaked, socially engineered, and have their entire lives taken away from them purely for having had the audacity to post their genuine emotional feelings about the losses in their lives on the Craigslist site. Watch out, people. This guy is a sick as they come, and you don’t have to go anywhere near the sex portion of the site to be victimized by him or by employees of Craigslist.

  14. RFJason says:


  15. anonymous says:

    Medeia Payne is a real fruit loop. First she, and we can only assume it is a she, sends Jason a blubbery letter obviously trying to get attention. When Jason tears her down for it she comes here and leaves a freakin book for everyone to read in the comments. It’s particularly interesting to note that since she didn’t get the response she wanted that somehow makes Jason work for or be good friends with the owner of Cragislist.

    I’m almost tempted to see where else this wacko has posted her rants. Almost.

  16. Sabrina says:

    What Jason did wasn’t right, but you gotta wonder about the 178 or so people who answered the ad with lurid pictures. The ones who don’t seem to respect their marriage vows and who are basically perverts…and people think Jason is the sick one? I’d say ALL of them have screws loose…

  17. Bailey says:

    If someone did that to me, he’d probably get his windows smashed out with rocks.


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