The Rise and Fall of LaughatCelebs.com
"Joe is Lit" wasn't my first website. Behold the trials and tribulations of a failed start up blog.
January of 2010 wasn't the brightest time of my life. I was two months unemployed from my newspaper sales jobs and things were starting to become desperate. Paying the bills and rent was getting difficult on unemployment and my funds were running low. In my heart, I felt that I was destined to build my own business. So I did the only thing that a young writer could.
I started my own blog.
Or I had planned to start my own blog. It never really got off the ground. I have to give props to the Dave Portnoys, Perez Hiltons, and Kyle Scotts of the world. Those with true entrepreneurial spirit and grit.
I saw how big TMZ was and thought that I could be just as big. My plan? I was going to report the celebrity news given to me from the many news outlets and put my own spin on it. I had the genius idea of putting the words "allegedly" in all of my stories so I couldn't be sued. Believe me, it sounded very smart in my head, but the younger version of me was dumb enough to take legal advice from my high school Government class. Tough times and desperation could cloud anyone's judgment.
I registered my website "www.LaughatCelebs.com" with reputable website host company Go Daddy. Proudly, I designed the website from top to bottom. It felt incredible to have such a creative outlet. But my optimism was derailed once I received a call from a Go Daddy customer service rep.
Gary from Go Daddy: "Hi Joe, this is Gary from GoDaddy.com. I really like your website domain name "LaughatCelebs". It's very clever!"
Me: "Thanks, Gary I appreciate it. I worked very hard on inventing the name. Celebrities will never be laughed at like they will be from my website!"
Gary: "That sounds great. I was wondering, with the name of the website there may be a lot of people that will be offended. Did you ever think about hiring a lawyer?"
And then it became real.
The thought of being sued made me shake in my boots. The funny thing is, it would have been a Rocky V/"Sue me for what?" type of scenario. I didn't have a pot to piss in, and was one month away from moving back in with my mom. But the thought of being sued to oblivion frightened me. It wisely made me reassess my Laugh at Celebs idea.
The final nail in the coffin came for Laugh at Celebs when my business cards came in the mail. My mindset was that all companies need business cards, so it's not an official business until you get one. I foolishly was under the mindset that "you had to spend money to make money". My heart sank when I opened up the box of cards which read, "Joe Odas, Chief Execortive Officer". Chief Execortive Officer?! I felt worse than Ralphie from A Christmas Story when he decoded an Ovaltine ad with his Little Orphan Annie pen. Did I forget to edit my own business cards?...or was there some type of production error? We will never know. It was then that I realized that Laugh at Celebs wasn't meant to be. Two months later I was able to secure a job in the insurance industry, and I put my blogging dreams to rest for the time being.
It took nearly ten years for me to bounce back from the debacle that was "LaughatCelebs.com". But I was able to build something that has been very fun and rewarding with Joe is Lit. Here’s a salute to anyone who had a dream, put in the work, and was fortunate enough to watch it succeed. Barstool Sports started in Dave Portnoy’s parent’s basement in the early aughts and today the brand is now valued at half a billion dollars. Not too shabby!
Will Joe is Lit ever be worth a half a billion dollars? I can buy a lot of wing sauces with that cash!
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