Loser.com may just be the best troll you’ve never heard of.
The conceit of the gag is pretty basic. Someone, somewhere in the world registered the domain “loser.com” in 1997. (Early evidence suggests this person was a guy named Steven Armato, who liked “yo mama” jokes and Apple computers.) Since then, Loser.com appears to have changed hands several times and been turned to several iffy purposes along the way (a chat forum, a retail store, an ad platform for PUAs.)
But since its early days, when Loser.com was just a list of “cool Web pages” and favorite stock picks, typing “Loser.com” into your URL bar wouldn’t always take you to that page. Sometimes, the site’s mischievous owner(s) would set up a technique called URL redirection, which basically means that, when you type in “loser.com,” it sends you to another page.
In 2000, for instance, Loser.com took you to the Web site of the guy who lost that year’s election. (Get it?)
For much of 2002, it redirected to a site opposing then-South Carolina governor Jim Hodges.
In 2008, after a long break, Loser.com went after Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
In 2010: Wikileaks.
In 2011: an article about Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy.
In 2012: the Reddit frontpage — a bit of Internet tomfoolery that soon earned Loser a prominent mention in the /r/askreddit thread. (Thereafter, Loser.com redirected to that forum, now with metadata that said “ok — we love Reddit.”)
The funny thing about the gag, besides the fact that it’s gone on so long, is that it’s so overwhelmingly pointless. Loser.com sees so little traffic, most analytics sites don’t even track it — it’s like making a bad dad joke to an empty room. And since the domain Loser.com is worth quite a bit of money, it’s making a bad Dad joke at some expense, too.
“Registering domains for smear is for LOSERS,” the site read, briefly, in 2004.
Still, maybe it’s worth it for the rare opportunity to prank someone as deserving as Kanye. Who’s next on Loser.com’s hit list? Only time and redirects can say …