Tech by VICE

The Owner of FuckFascism.com Is Leasing the Domain to Fund His Startup

The domain's owner says he can make an impact with an "ethical shopping companion."

by Samantha Cole
Aug 25 2017, 2:30pm

Image: Matt Zimermann/Flickr

If you're looking for your own corner of the internet to tell fascism to bite your ass, look no further: fuckfascism.com is available for lease.

Jonathan Hecht, a New York City entrepreneur, told me in a phone interview that he's been "acutely aware" of the rise of far right for the last few years, and so he decided to buy the domain earlier this year. "After the election it was kind of a catalyzing point," he said. "And the first thought I had in my head was, 'fuck fascism.'"

Less than a week later, he registered the domain, but didn't do much with it until January. Briefly, following the inauguration, the only thing on the site was a video of white nationalist Richard Spencer getting punched in the head on a loop.

It was around that time that Hecht met Ridge Montes, and the two decided to work on a new startup. "Fuck fascism" was the original idea for their company's branding, but while simple and effective, the phrase wasn't setting the right tone, Montes said.

"We saw that there was a lot of negativity, and it's exhausting to engage in the political space even on social media right now," he said. "So we wanted to rebrand in a way that creates more positivity—the power people have when they coordinate together. The idea of being against, rather than for something was something we wanted to move away from."

While Hecht said he's probably never giving up fuckfascism.com completely, leasing it out will help fund their new startup, Be the Impakt.

"[Fuckfascism.com] was originally conceived as a way to provide support to activists who were trying to find a way to make a substantive difference in the world," Hecht said. "We finally decided that one of the most effective ways to change behavior was through economic force. On considering the current state of boycotts, we realized that they were stuck in the 20th century."

They're hoping Be the Impakt will interrupt the purchasing process on Amazon with information about ethical consumption, and suggest alternatives. The "ethical shopping companion" will tell shoppers if, for instance, a company "helped elect Trump" or has a poor environmental record.

Image: Be the Impakt

"It's a bit of a sacrifice but I think it's worth it for our goal," Hecht said about the prospect of giving up fuckfascism.com. "These are things we really passionately care about, we just need the money right now so we can help with another social impact cause."

Hecht said he will only divulge the lease price to interested customers. However, I can personally say that it seems like it would be a steal for buyers with the right budget, if only to throw a video of Nazis getting decked back up there.