Hot or Not

From Academic Kids

Hot or Not is a website that allows users to rate the attractiveness of photos submitted voluntarily by others.

Founded in October, 2000, by two Silicon Valley-based engineers named James Hong and Jim Young, the site was originally called Am I Hot or Not, and quickly became very popular. The site allowed people to submit their pictures, and visitors would rate them on a scale of one (not) to ten (hot).

Within a week of launching, the site had reached the level of serving almost 2 million page views per day. Within a few months, the site had penetrated the Net Nielsen Rating's Top 25 advertising domains, placed immediately behind CNet and NBCi.

In order 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.

Later the website's domain name was changed to, which was considered a poor marketing move by many given the enormous name recognition of Despite the change, the site remains very popular.


Hot or Not was originally preceeded by the popular, which was launched a year earlier in the summer of 1999, although Hot or Not would eventually become a more popular website.

Since then, site has spawned many imitators including:

What's My is a different twist given that photos are not "rated," but visitors are encouraged to guess the answers to factual questions selected by the members. Points are awarded for the best guessers and members who upload photos will see what image they project in their pictures.

One interesting feature to arise from a comparison of the original and others such as the German is the large difference in average ratings between the sites. It is widely believed that the algorithm used to keep track of scores on contains a bias term to effectively 'overrate' all participants, with most pictures rated 7 or above. The most likely reason for this is to promote good feeling among participants (contrast this with for example, the German website, where average scores lie around 5, as would be expected for a pseudo-random distribution).

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