Gay.com is a chat, personals, and social networking website catering to the LGBT community. The site is a digital brand of Here Media Inc. In addition to community features, the site features LGBT-related news and features. As of September 2005, San Jose Mercury News ranked gay.com as the most popular online gay personals site in the United States. As of March 2007, Hitwise ranked it number three in domestic American popularity after Adam4Adam and Manhunt. Gay.com also competes internationally with dudesnude, gayromeo, and gaydar.
Gay.com was founded by Mark Elderkin in 1994 and launched with a Java-based chat system in 1996. Gay.com's parent company acquired PlanetOut in 2001. In October 2008 the company relaunched gay.com., updating the visual style of the site and replacing the former Java-based chat system. Technical problems caused by the upgrade led to service interruptions and lags. In an open letter[dead link] from PlanetOut management, "hardware configurations and software code" were cited as culprits. Many users asked the service to revert to its former system. The formerly solid user base has eroded since the relaunch.