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Type of site
Rotten.com is a shock site with the slogan "An archive of disturbing illustration". It is devoted to morbid curiosities, primarily pictures of violent acts, deformities, autopsy or forensic photographs, depictions of perverse sex acts, and historical curios that are disturbing or misanthropic in nature. The site was founded in 1997, and its format has changed little since then. As of 2009, updates to it are very sporadic and small. The landing page does not appear to have been updated since February 2012.
Rotten.com has been threatened with many lawsuits over the years, mostly in the form of cease and desist notices. These range from serious matters (such as requests to remove pictures of dead relatives from the site) to Burlington Coat Factory asking to take down trenchcoat.org, which was bought as a Trenchcoat Mafia reference, but simply linked to Burlington Coat Factory's webpage. On June 24, 2005, the US federal government ordered that the "Fuck of the Month" section of the site be removed (along with content from several ancillary sites). In posting the page's removal notice, the site's moderator criticized supporters of both Alberto Gonzales and the Bush Administration for the enablement of censorship.
- The I Hate Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice Reader. Avalon Publishing. 2004. ISBN 1-56025-620-6. (pp. 194–204 consists of the Rotten Library entry for John Ashcroft)
The Rotten Library contains hundreds of articles presumably by the owner of the rotten.com site at http://rotten.com/library/ with sarcastic and entertaining views under the headings of Culture, Art, Medicine, Crime, Travel, The Occult, Sideshow, Language, Cryptozoology, Sex, Imagery, Conspiracy, Religion, Death, Hoaxes, History, Biographies. In the words of the author "... an unforgettable collection of all that mankind swore to forget, but which we have trapped in agonizing clarity to remember always"
The Daily Rotten
In late 1999, The Daily Rotten was started by Thomas E. Dell. This site, updated daily, contains links to news articles that cover the more bizarre, macabre and unpleasant side of life. Stories of terrorism, murders, suicides, cruelty, excrement and abuse are the staple fare of this site. Daily Rotten, also known as Rotten News, is driven by user submissions which are edited by a self-described Rotten Staff Duder. This also features comments for each one of the articles, posted by the registered members; they usually bring similar histories or gruesome images. They refer to themselves as rotteneers, a satirical reference to Walt Disney's Mouseketeers, and/or "rottentots."
The events of September 11, 2001 were featured heavily on The Daily Rotten pages, a fact that the creators acknowledge as contributing to the popularity of the site. Additions have been increasingly sporadic since late 2011 and, as of 2-11-2012 appear to have stopped altogether with the last entry of "Today in Rotten History" (a sidebar feature of the news site) set at June 3.
The Gaping Maw
In 2000, the Rotten staff started up The Gaping Maw, an editorial/commentary archive. Most of the articles were written by cartoonist Tristan Farnon under the alias "Spigot" (Jerkcity, Leisure Town) and other associates, containing news satire and general rumination on modern society. Along with the Rotten Library, this has improved Rotten's standing in many communities since it has introduced an intellectual, humane aspect to what was otherwise considered a purely "shock" site. On the afternoon of June 22, 2005, "The Gaping Maw" went dark to comply with new governmental bookkeeping requirements regarding the distribution of pornography, specifically governmental age-verification of models, under 18 U.S.C. § 2257. All articles were taken down, and the site's title page was replaced with a statement lamenting the passage of the laws, headed by the banner "CENSORED BY US GOVERNMENT." In January 2006, "The Gaping Maw" came back online with some articles still unpublishable, others heavily edited.
Rotten Dead Pool
In November 2003, the Rotten Dead Pool was launched. This is a game in which players pick ten people they believe will die over the course of the next twelve months. A point is awarded to a player for each of their picks who dies over the twelve months (unless the deceased is executed and was awaiting execution at the time they were picked, is murdered by the player, or is picked after their death). It has not been publicly stated by the site what the winner gets, if anything.