The Scottsdale-based "The Dirty" website has received plenty of attention for its gossip-mongering since Nik Richie founded it in 2007.
But Richie, (whose real name is Hooman Karamian), has never had a summer like this. After posting the latest penis pics and sexting threads of New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, Richie told reporters his company had to purchase new servers to keep up with the tens of millions of page views. The publicity reached another crescendo this month with a less positive, but still interesting, story about a former pro-football player's lawsuit against Richie.
The Dirty's reader-driven content brings together the most base elements of the Internet -- mean, anonymous comments, a mix of true and false info, and floods of gratuitous T&A pictures. But it also publishes news of public interest, as long as the latter phrase is interpreted broadly. Take this quick retrospective tour with us as we look at some of his biggest scoops:
10.) The Dirty wasn't the first to publish nude photos or video of Erin Andrews, the smokin'-hot Fox Sports sportscaster, that were taken through the peephole of her hotel room door. But the site's publication of a couple-dozen of nude shots, along with a smarmy message to Andrews asking her if this was the post her lawyers wanted taken down, drew massive Internet attention for some reason.
9.) Scottsdale police arrest lots of minor celebs, wanna-bes and average Josephines for DUI, but the bust on New Year's Eve of basketball superstar Charles Barkley was special. And, at least according to Richie's website, The Dirty broke the news "hours" before the news media got it.
8.) When Congressman Ben Quayle ran for office, he was dogged by rumors that he'd helped Richie write posts for The Dirty when the site was in its infancy. On August 9, 2010, Richie confirmed those rumors on his site, outing Quayle as The Dirty writer who used the synonym Brock Landers.
7.) Locals may recall this one: The same day in 2009 that the Arizona Republic and other media outlets were writing articles about a former Tempe vice-principal moonlighting as an escort, Richie's site apparently published some of her vocational shots.
6.) Prissy Carrie Prejean created an uproar during the 2009 Miss America pageant when she stated on stage that she opposed gay marriage. Then, when semi-nude pictures of Prejean surfaced on Richie's site, the pageant terminated her contract.
5.) Richie used his site to allow others to tattle anonymously while he himself stayed anonymous -- until an ignominious arrest in Scottsdale for DUI that was discovered by the Smoking Gun website. Months later, Richie outed himself in a post on his own site, giving dozens of fans and critics the opportunity to call him a douchebag and worse.
4.) Back in 2009, The Dirty broke the story of a Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader who reportedly had slept with the entire football team and had STDs. But the scoop, submitted by a reader, wasn't true. The cheerleader, Sarah Jones, won a $338,000 judgment against The Dirty last month. A federal judge upheld the judgment this month in a ruling noticed by Internet publishers across the country.
3.) Some people like actor Ashton Kutcher. Lots of people love Demi Moore. So the public was thrilled to see the two stars wed in 2005. And when The Dirty broke the celeb-gossip news about Kutcher cheating on Moore with Sandra Leal, The Dirty Army left a few hundred comments trashing the three of them.
2.) Apart from the money, being a pro-football player means you get to sometimes go to wild parties with teenage girls doing beer bongs -- and who actually talk to you. That was the case a few years ago for Matt Leinart, former Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans player. But somebody was too handy with a camera and an Internet connection, committing a party foul by tipping off The Dirty.
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SHOW ME HOW
1.) This is a cropped shot of Anthony Weiner's foot. We didn't really want to see the rest of the picture. Nobody did. And nobody really wanted to know just how stupid a former congressman could be. Thanks to The Dirty, though, we found out. And Weiner's mayoral race is (presumably) history.
UPDATE August 21: Richie offers up more of his past scoops for us, and announces he's got a big story brewing.