XXX in Tech

Indiegogo as Blackmail: Revenge Porn Proprietor Wants $200,000 to Take Down Your Naked Pics

"If we are able to raise $200,000, we will shut down all of our websites and auction off the domain names."
(Screencap: Indiegogo)

(Screencap: Indiegogo)

Back in April, Colorado-based revenge porn proprietor Craig Brittain promised that he would shutter his online nudes hub Is Anybody Down, feigning remorse about posting naked photos without women’s consent and even changing his Twitter bio to something so emo it’d make Taking Back Sunday proud. But shortly after declaring his intent to shut down the site, Mr. Brittain registered obamanudes.com and transferred all of Is Anybody Down’s archives there. When visitors go to isanybodydown.com, they’re greeted with a message: “Is Anybody Down is OVER! Obama Nudes has begun. http://obamanudes.com/

Now, Mr. Brittain has devised a new scheme to flout the desires of victims who want him to take down their intimate photos. He and Is Anybody Down co-owner Chance Trahan have launched an Indiegogo campaign with a goal of $200,000, claiming that if they hit their goal they will officially shut down both sites. And they’ve named their campaign after revenge porn victim Holly Jacobs’ victim resource hub, End Revenge Porn.

In the campaign description, Mr. Brittain explains that a series of mistakes he made in his youth led him to have an arrest record, and that coupled with his depression have kept him from holding a legitimate job. Because of this, he has been forced to host your naked photos without your consent in order to make money to pay for food and rent.

According to the campaign:

We don’t really want to keep these pictures or profiles up. We have no real interest in them. We had hoped that by this point in time, we would’ve made enough money to purchase a real business and cover our bills, but we haven’t been able to do so. We thought that our plan would work, that we’d make money and sell off the website and by now we would have houses and decent lives, even if only for a short time…

But, you can help those people. If we are able to raise $200,000, we will shut down all of our websites and auction off the domain names. We will never run any other websites like obamanudes.com.

Mr. Brittain’s Is Anybody Down has been the subject of local news team investigations, which revealed that he may have posed as women on Craigslist to obtain nude photos. He also claims to have a partnership with an independent organization called Takedown Hammer, run by New York attorney David Blade III. For $250, revenge porn victims can pay “David Blade” to have their photos removed from Is Anybody Down. However, no such attorney exists in the New York State Unified Court System’s attorney database, and emails sent from Mr. Brittain appear to have come from the same I.P. as those sent by the Takedown Hammer. This has caused some, like attorney Marc Randazza, to label Mr. Brittain’s operation as scam.

The Indiegogo campaign takes this notion a bit further: instead of asking victims for money to rid the web of their pictures, Misters Brittain and Trahan are instead asking the entire Internet for money to “end revenge porn.” The money, of course, will go towards their own personal well-being. And it’s a flexible funding campaign, which means they don’t have to hit their $200,000 to keep the money.

The Indiegogo campaign could theoretically break some of Indiegogo’s terms of use, including the rule that states that campaigners may not offer, sell or distribute “Items infringing or violating others’ Intellectual Property Rights, privacy rights or proprietary rights or wrongfully disclosing confidential information.”

We’ve reached out to both Mr. Brittain and Indiegogo and will update when we hear back.

But hey, $50 will get you a t-shirt.

Update: Since reaching out to them, Indiegogo has pulled the campaign from its site. They haven’t responded to us with comment.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com