Good Web Lessons From Bad Jocks
Bob Reno is a good example of how passion for a topic and a little sensationalistic human appeal can be a solid recipe for building a website. As the founder of Badjocks.com, Reno dedicated the site to misbehaving athletes who don’t realize that posting raunchy party photos on the Internet isn’t much different than displaying them in Times Square.
College may be a time and place for everything, and many of us certainly remember, but our misdeeds (ahem, not that I ever misbehaved in college) weren’t digitally chronicled – at least most of us wouldn’t have even made the paper. But a camera phone and a Webshots.com account can transform a whipped cream bikini from day-after snickers in the classroom to eternal gawking on the Web.
But Reno doesn’t limit it to lewd college hazing and initiations (thank you, sir, may I have another?), he includes high school scandals and professional athletes as well. At the top of the homepage, there is a BadJocks Scoreboard. The tally, as of January 1st, is 79 high school coach sex scandals; 19 drunken outbursts; 7 naughty cheerleaders; and 4 streakers and naked people.
He doesn’t pretend, as it seems in the Chicago Sun-Times, that his moral high ground is that far above sea level. After working with anti-hazing activist Dr. Susan Lipkins, his admittedly sensationalist website accepted the onus of highlighting irresponsible behavior among student athletes – and the occasional mascot on a moped.
“A year ago, I would have said, ‘Yeah, there’s titillation and it drives traffic. That’s good,'” Reno told suntimes.com. “But working with Dr. Lipkins, she has told me just unbelievable stories that have made me rethink the whole hazing thing. Certainly with a site called badjocks and some of the garbage I put on, I’m in no position to preach.”
In no position to preach, but he’s in a fine position to entertain and disturb, while making a few bucks on the side with targeted sports tickets links and DUI attorney advertising.
So, what are the lessons we learn for conceptualizing web content? If it’s interesting to you, it’s interesting to someone else; if it involves sex and scandal, multiply it by 1000; mascots on mopeds are funny; and know your audience – if content revolves around drunken athletes, your visitors need two things: tickets to the game and a good lawyer.