HotOrNot founder James Hong engaged

Owen Thomas · 10/02/08 07:00AM

James Hong, who recently sold rating-and-dating site HotOrNot, has announced his engagement to girlfriend Julia Zhang. I wondered if he'd dropped down on one knee at Max Levchin's wedding over the weekend, where he served as best man, but Hong tells me he popped the question a few weeks ago. Hong also celebrated his 35th birthday earlier this week. I guess this settles the question, James: Definitely hot.

Please don't post photos of my wedding to Slide

Jackson West · 09/29/08 01:00AM

Slide founder Max Levchin made longtime lover Nellie Minkova an honest woman on Saturday. The ceremony was held at San Francisco's St. Regis Hotel, and featured HotOrNot cofounder James Hong as best man, with fellow PayPal mafioso Peter Thiel another groomsman. Gracious enough for the couple to refuse gifts besides books and wine, considering how many zeros Levchin can count toward his (and now their) wealth. However, rather ironic that the bride and groom asked guests not to upload any pictures from the ceremonies online for "privacy" reasons.Levchin's Slide promotes the practice of sharing every precious and not-so-precious moment with the world at large, and that his company has massive amounts of Facebook user data at its disposal thanks to the popularity of the company's Facebook applications. Yes, the rich are different than you and I: They don't buy into the crap they sell us.

L is for Levchin, who never goes slow

Owen Thomas · 05/12/08 05:20PM

Max Levchin, the cofounder of PayPal and the CEO of Slide, measures nearly everything, down to the optimum price to pay for an engagement ring. If he needs a metric for self-importance, Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good, Sarah Lacy's new book about Web 2.0, provides one. He occupies 78 out of 294 pages, more than anyone else. Here are the index pages for "F" through "M":

HotorNot kindles true love

Nicholas Carlson · 02/13/08 12:40PM

Founders James Hong and Jim Young sold HotorNot earlier this week, but so far, it's business as usual for the operation. Meaning, the site remains a very effective means of getting a date. Check out Daniya here. She's completely smitten with our secret correspondent and man of mystery, Tips. Sadly for Daniya, Tips prefers a different kind of "dating" site.

HotorNot sold for $20 million, founders now rated 10/10 with the ladies

Jordan Golson · 02/11/08 09:32PM

HotorNot.com, the online "dating service" that lets you rate pictures of the opposite sex based on hotness and then connect with the ones you like, has been bought for around $20 million according to TechCrunch. Valleywag alumna Megan McCarthy pours water on that figure, citing cofounder James Hong: there were "very few people on the deal and there's no reason for us to tell anyone" about the price. Founders James Hong and Jim Young will no longer be involved with the company after the sale. Hong said, "It's time to break up with this girlfriend."

Starbucks has few fans on Facebook

Owen Thomas · 11/16/07 02:26PM

The premise behind Facebook's Social Ads is the notion that users of the social network will declare their brand loyalty on the site, and thereby opt into targeted ads from some of their favorite corporations. Starbucks, despite a recent dip in store visits after a price hike, serves 44 million customers a week. So you'd think a few of those customers might have admitted to being fans of Facebook, right? Wrong. Facebook's Starbucks product page has all of 59 fans. I think there were that many people in my local Starbucks the last time I bought a latte.

Much love to Web 2.0

Megan McCarthy · 10/17/07 05:45PM

The week of Web 2.0 Summit, with the industry converging on San Francisco, seems like as good time as any to throw a shindig. Everyone's in town for the schmoozefest, so you might get to meet quality people who normally avoid the party scene. While my boss hit the Reddit party, I hopped around town to some of the other events. Three, in fact. VC firm True Ventures held a gathering at their offices on Pier 38, a tech industry jam session — for charity, naturally — occurred across town at the Rickshaw Stop, and VCs Eric Chin and Mike Jung held a private party at Fluid for attendees of their intimate Alpha dinners in Woodside. Who needs sleep this week?

Dating site not so hot with advertisers?

Tim Faulkner · 09/18/07 12:14PM

HotorNot.com, the online dating and rating site run by Jim Young and James Hong, is abandoning its experiment in free, ad-supported user profiles and is reverting back to paid memberships. Is this a sign of failure? According to an email from Young and Hong to past and current members, no. Free profiles led to a flood of spammers that were overloading the website — an outcome that members had predicted at the time. Plausible. And yet plenty of other sites offer free profiles while keeping spammers at least somewhat in check. Could this actually be a tacit acknowledgement that all the assumptions that cofounder Hong made in a blog post announcing the move to make HotorNot free three months ago were, well, wrong? That online advertising is not, in fact, HotorNot's future? The full email after the jump.

James Hong sees the future a little late

Tim Faulkner · 07/09/07 02:40PM

James Hong, founder of the popular rating/dating service Hot or Not blogs about the future of his company's strategy and products. The short version: social bookmarking, Hot. Subscription dating: Not. It's difficult to question the success Hot or Not has brought James Hong (and his partner Jim) — reportedly "multi millions of profits per year" — but it's much easier to ask: did Jim and James exploit a fad at the right time, and now are playing catch up to the newest fad? The lengthy explanation of how the improved market data and directed advertising of a social network is a business (No way!) and that users like social applications (Get out!) suggest so. Transforming a successful business is Hot; mimicking every other business is Not.

Internet Millionaires to African AIDS Babies: Drop dead!

Nick Douglas · 06/20/06 09:30AM

Marketer and pro-blogger advocate Curt Hopkins is a good and reasonable man. Good because he's running the Blogswana project, in which students will help those affected by AIDS in Africa tell the world about their plight. Reasonable because when he asked the following Valley people — people known as good souls with a passion for world-changing technology — for financial support, he expected a few yeses and a few nos.

Valley sluts on the Slut-o-Meter

ndouglas · 02/10/06 01:26PM

Big sister Lifehacker gives us the best "productivity" tool ever: the Slut-o-meter gives a safe-to-unsafe result ratio, or basically a promiscuity rating. Since computers are never wrong about sex, I ran some bold names through the meter for an official Valley Slut Register:

Remainders: Today must be naked day

ndouglas · 02/09/06 03:19AM

James Hong and Jim Young once posted a Hot or Not billboard showing them naked with laptops. The sign was taken down, but James just found it again on MSN Live Local. [James Hong]
Om Malik gets giddy about Demo startups in his latest podcast with Niall. [Om Malik]
Yahoo is the new Visa: The search company starts offering point-based rewards to customers. Startup idea #207: Chinese search farms racking up Yahoo points. [Techdirt]
What's worse than censoring search? Sending a Chinese journalist to jail. But hey, Americans, the freedom to share more Coldplay with your friends? Now that's a fair trade! [Yahoo helps jail dissident, SiliconBeat]
Worship Wozniak? He's a great guy, invented personal computers, sure, but has he made any shiny little video players? Nope. [Wired News]

Classic Valley candids

ndouglas · 02/02/06 03:31PM

If D.C. is Hollywood for ugly people, then Silicon Valley is D.C. for the even uglier. (A cheap joke, of course, which we'll contradict with our Valley Hotties contests.) Everyone has a bad photo now and then; the fun is when they get promoted up to the "don't share bad photos" ranks of one tech giant or another. Above is the lovely Sergey Brin in drag, looking as scary as the evil girl in "The Ring." After the jump, shots of Hot or Not founder James Hong and Google VP Marissa Mayer.