Somebody hates me $5 worth

There is a website — one that is so stupid I feel embarrassed to even give it free publicity — called www.whotohate.com. The idea behind the site is you pay them five bucks, write in the name of someone you hate, and the website writes to the person telling them that there is someone who hates them.

I got one of those hate mails today, meaning that someone hates me enough to be willing to pay $5 to have me receive such an email.

It is an interesting product they are providing from an economic perspective. Does the person spending the $5 get utility from the act of declaring (albeit completely anonymously) their hatred? Or does the utility come from the (real or imagined) pain on the part of the recipient when he or she discovers the depth of another’s hatred?

For someone who actively hates me, the only source of satisfaction would be the first channel. I already gets loads of hatred coming my way every day — hatred that is far more vicious than this whimsical email I received after they spent $5. Indeed, the fact that the person who hates me identified me as Steve Levitt from California (where I lived only briefly while visiting Stanford a number of years ago) actually gave me a good chuckle.

It got me thinking. Maybe the website would be well served to allow the hater to make a payment greater than $5. By paying $50 to demonstrate their hatred, and relaying that information to the hated person, it could really send the message. Perhaps, though, haters prefer to send 10 separate $5 messages to create the impression that everyone hates you a little, rather than one person hates you a lot.

What saddens me about the website is that where it could really have some bite is for some innocent teenager who is singled out for hatred by his or her peers. For a person who only gets a few emails a day to begin with, receiving 10 or 12 emails saying that anonymous people hate you might be pretty discouraging.

The good news is that apparently not many people feel enough hatred to want to spend $5 to make that hatred known. The current list of the 10 most hated people includes some well known names (I’ve omitted the people I have never heard of, for fear they are the innocent teens I talked about in the preceding paragraph). Here is the list, with the number of hatreds towards each person in parentheses:

George Bush (7)

Hillary Clinton (3)

Oprah Winfrey (3)

Gloria Steinem (3)

Barbara Boxer (2)

So even with all the people who hate George Bush, only seven people have been willing to pony up the $5! To make the top 10 list, you only need two people to hate you. That shouldn’t be hard for me. I’m already halfway there.


Travis0485

I wonder if they would give you your money back if your hatred for someone either ended or only became a strong dislike?

What if three of the seven people that claim to hate George Bush were to quit hating him if he ever pulled our troops out of Iraq (albeit highly unlikely. Would the website then refund your money or maybe give you a small refund? I doubt it but you never know.

queenofsheba

I like the idea of the different price points: imagine if a buncha people clubbed together and sent George Bush the $64,000 Hate Letter! But the only way it's not morally sucky is if the money got donated to an appropriate charity--say one for the victims of hate crimes, or something. Barring that, I'd sure hate to live off of money people paid to send other people hate mail.

Blar

Congrats, Steve. Your post has already helped make the website another $15, and moved you up to #3 on the list, ahead of the Hillary. I hope you're happy.

sophistry

WHOIS shows that the website is registered by someone at
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160,
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
A search for this address yields several websites fronts under the same domain address registration which people suspect to be scams- one example http://www.scam.com/printthread.php?t=7675

Maybe it's just another scam to get credit card info.

www.acsh.org

I wonder if there is an "I like you" webpage. I guess all the dating service webpages are onto that...and making a lot more than $5.00.

Walrus

It seems to me it would have been wiser to report on this without actually supplying the website. Heaven knows, hatred doesn't need any extra help in getting spread around.

zbicyclist

I think Sophistry is likely right and this is a scam to get credit card / Paypal info.

It might be good to mention this possibility in the blog posting.

zbicyclist

It looks like you get 3 hate names for $5.

Somebody only hates you $1.67 worth.

Dale

It would be pretty good marketing if the site sent out hate letters to famous people for the publicity, claiming that they were purchsed. N'est pas?

Frisky070802

1) I would never use such a site without using a one-time-only credit card, such as Citibank provides. But I wonder how many people bother with such things?

2) I don't feel like visiting the site and giving them the hits, but i'm curious whether the real side effect of people seeing this in your blog is for the number of Bush-haters to skyrocket.

wordpresscommenter

Have you noticed that the majority of the 'top hated people' are WOMEN? Strong women, in fact. Seems as if strong women often inspire hatred.

Gov

By the way Dale it's "N'est-ce pas?". (I guess as a french speaking I must make the same kind of mistakes in english).

Anyway, what a waste of money! If I want to send anonymous e-mails to people I hate (or dislike), I can just register for a free e-mail adress (Hotmail, Yahoo, whatever) with some fake infos and start spredin' the hate!

Here's a nice one: nobodylikesyou@yahoo.com

Gov

I talk about making mistakes and that's exactly what happened! I meant "spreadin'" instead of "spredin'".

fighting_quaker

I know that the president doesn't have an email address, and I'd suspect Clinton and Boxer (and probably Oprah) don't either. So some people just paid $5 to affect the Most Hated poll, or they are literally just spending $5 to vent, not to communicate their hatred.

Jeffery Faulk

I feel that it's good to know if someone hates you. That way you can be prepared, load the shotgun and wait for them quietly in the closet.

Actually, you'll never see folks who hate this way. They don't have what it takes to be up front with their hate. That would mean exposing one's views to censure and debate, obviously something they're not willing to do.

Jim Driscoll

First, all elected federal officials have an email address, though they don't typically read their own email, contrary to what fighting_quaker wrote (though the essence of what he wrote is correct - the intended target will never see the email).

Second, I'd like to point out that no matter how ungainly the teen, it's unlikely that any teen "only gets a few emails a day to begin with". And the ability to send anonymous hate mail is actually a fairly trivial matter, since you could just create a throwaway Hotmail account. Having received hatemail myself in my youth (back before email), I find it pretty likely that the paid email would be far more innocuous (I'm assuming its a boilerplate?) than the personally targeted email that teenagers are so very good at. So I'd regard the negative side of this as fairly mild.

And yeah, it's probably a scam anyway.

Shieva

"Maybe the website would be well served to allow the hater to make a payment greater than $5. By paying $50 to demonstrate their hatred, and relaying that information to the hated person, it could really send the message. Perhaps, though, haters prefer to send 10 separate $5 messages to create the impression that everyone hates you a little, rather than one person hates you a lot."

Regardless of whether any of them use it, it still seems like a good idea to give haters the option of spending more; they may be more impressed with a website that seems to care about the individual needs of each hater.

Also, perhaps part of the allure is that it seems irrational to spend money on the website (given that one can send anonymous emails for free). When someone gets one of the website's messages they discover not only that someone hates them, but that it's likely this person is prone to making bad choices on the basis of their emotions. While I might be comforted by the thought that the hatred may be as senseless as the way in which it's expressed, that would not be enough to compensate for the worry about what other ways such a person might express their emotions toward me.

The website, then, allows rational haters to pose as irrational ones. And though one might still question the rationality of using the site in this way (since surely a hater could send an irrational-sounding email for free), that only makes this all the better for the rational hater. Likewise: what if it became widely believed that rational haters were using the website in this way? Then it seems irrational for them to continue to do so. But then we'd think they weren't so rational after all, and . . . :)

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keyrouse

how long before there is an website in india sending hate mail for $2.73 ? sounds to me like outsourcing emotion is the next logical step, albeit maybe unhealthy...

noname

I can't believe Heckman would spend $5 just to send you that.

gocards44

John Lott probably sent it...it's way cheaper than a lawsuit