All images courtesy of Hostgator Dotcom.
The media keeps telling me that, thanks to the new LA condom laws and the fact that the internet exists, the porn industry is flat broke. But if that's true, how can they still afford to get their logos tattooed on to my friend Hostgator Dotcom's body and face?
Hostgator and I got to know each other when I interviewed him about selling his skin as advertising space to porn sites so he could afford to feed his family. After that article was published, one of the companies who had tattooed their logo on to Hostgator's face decided they felt bad and offered to pay for Hostgator to have all of the tattoos removed. Which proves three things: 1) that online journalism CAN change lives, 2) that people who run internet porn sites are human beings with souls, and 3) there comes a time in every man's life when he must get the tattoos of porn websites removed from his face.
Anyway, Hostgator emailed me the good news so I thought I'd call him up to congratulate him. It turns out he's doing great and his kids aren't starving, but he also has some worrying new plans to make money.
Hostgator with his kids.
VICE: So, great news, man. What happened?
Hotsgator Dotcom: Yeah, so the website cam4.com are gonna pay for the tattoo removal on my face. They advertised on my face a long time ago, read the VICE story and decided they wanted to help me – they're just doing it to be nice. I had my first laser removal treatment last week.
Did they apologise for getting them done in the first place?
No, they said that they appreciate me advertising for them, but that if I don’t want them any more then they’re happy to remove them.
So they’re not just removing their logo from your face but everyone else’s logo, as well?
Yeah. It won’t ruin my contract with anyone. Actually, I never had any contracts with anyone anyway.
What does your wife think?
She’s happy, she’s excited. I'm excited, too. I'm excited to get a better job and move on with my life.
Awesome – that’s great news.
Yeah. But I lost my job as a counsellor for people with mental illness and I’ve been working as a courier. But work cut some of my hours and it’s making it harder to get by financially, so I’ve been thinking of some new ways to make money.
Yeah, I’m planning on selling advertising space for my funeral. I plan on living for a long time, but I thought it would be funny to have a funeral entirely sponsored by websites.
Oh god, Hostgator. Are you sure?
They could have their names carved into my casket.
Okay, but you’d better be getting a lot of money for it. Hostgator is already going to have their company name carved on your tombstone for eternity.
That’s true. The other thing I’m thinking about is – if the money is right – getting a tattoo advertisement on my thing.
Haha, yeah. If the money was right.
Oh, we’re talking about your penis?
Yeah, maybe Viagra could advertise.
How much are you asking for?
Well, it would have to be quite a bit – that’s a good 12 inches of advertisement space. Haha, I’m just kidding.
Yeah. I’m also trying to sell my name again, so if VICE wanted to advertise with me – which I know they don’t – my name would be Vicedotcom Hostgatordotcom.
Don’t you think having that kind of name will make it harder to get a job in the same kind of way that it made it harder to get a job with the face tattoos?
Yep. I mean, some places might just think it’s funny, but the tattoos definitely hurt me really bad.
Okay, so you’re selling your name again, as well as advertising space on your penis and at funeral casket – are you really this desperate? Do you really need the money?
I mean, I’m just entertaining offers; the money would have to be right. I’m pretty OK right now, actually – I just thought it would be fun.
Are you looking for more jobs on the side?
Yeah, I’m doing security now, too. I’ll be starting tomorrow.
Are you starting to think that if you never got the tattoos in the first place you’d have a better job right now?
Oh, I’m sure I would. If I didn’t get the tattoos I’d have a really high-paying job right now.
Do you have any dreams for your future career?
Well, I want something that pays more than I earn now, and hopefully something in the field of helping people. I really like helping people. That’s what I’d like to do with the money from selling space on my dick: start a business that can give back to the community.
Maybe you can help other people sell their bodies as advertising space?
I get tonnes of emails from people who want advice on how to sell their bodies as advertising. Tonnes of emails. I get pictures from women from all over the world, usually of their breasts. They say, “Do you think anyone will want to advertise on these?” I get questions from guys sending pictures of their dicks, too. They’re all short on money and they want to sell their bodies. I've probably had around 500 of those emails in the last year.
It’s sad to think that so many people need the money that much.
Yeah, it’s come to that. I always tell them how I went about doing it, but tell them not to do it on their face.
Are you getting any new offers from websites?
Yeah, one company called Peepmeat.com reached out to me. They want to advertise on my arm, but I don’t know what their company is. I’ve never visited it online.
Okay, I’m just loading the website now. It seems to be some kind of porn website for meat.
Is it porn?
Well, not really – it’s food-porn. Just hamburgers, actually. It says, “Peepmeat: a delicious gallery of burger snapshots.”
I’m amazed. Sometimes I think I understand the internet, then I speak to you for five minutes and my world gets turned upside-down. Since when do websites like this exist? And how do you all find each other? Is there some international symposium for internet weirdos?
Haha, no. People just find me through Facebook.
So is there anything else going on in your life?
Not a lot, just trying to survive in this world.
You’re financially stable now though, right? Your kids are healthy?
Yeah, we’re doing OK. I’m not going to be homeless any time soon.
You sound a lot happier. Are you a lot happier?
Yeah, I’m really hopeful for the future.
Great. Good luck with everything, Hostgator.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @Matt_A_Shea.
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