Contributed by: ElyseRomano Thursday, October 10 2019 @ 09:54 am
In 1994, visionary entrepreneur Gary Kremen used a $2,500 loan to create Match.com. Only 5 percent of Americans were using the internet at the time - and even fewer were using it to find love - but Match.com became the world’s first online dating service. More than 20 years later, it’s still one of the industry’s biggest and most dynamic players.
Though Kremen’s name may not be as famous as Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, his influence on the internet is immense. Author and award-winning journalist David Kushner chronicled the rise of Kremen and Match.com in The Players Ball: A Genius, a Con Man, and the Secret History of the Internet’s Rise. Less than six months after Kushner’s book was released, it’s set to get the Hollywood treatment with a small screen adaptation.
John Altschuler and David Krinsky, the co-creators of HBO’s hit tech-centric show Silicon Valley, are developing a series on the origins of Match.com. The duo’s adaptation of The Players Ball has reportedly received an order for a pilot script from TBS. Silicon Valley's sixth and final season will air later this year, freeing Altschuler and Krinsky to focus on their new tale of sex, drugs and dial-up. Kushner will serve as executive producer for the series.
TBS viewers are in for a bizarre and barely-believable ride ride. According to The Players Ball, Kremen is a Stanford grad who got his start as a frumpy, unsociable teenager selling stolen copies of Playboy. His early professional life was unremarkable, characterized by poor personal hygiene, a failed summer internship with Goldman Sachs, and a diet rich in burritos. Despite these initial challenges, Kremen was shrewd and determined. He recognized that certain domain names would be worth a fortune one day, so he secured ownership of some of the most valuable, including Jobs.com, Autos.com and Match.com. He also registered Sex.com, betting that love and sex would be a winning combination.
He was right. Unfortunately, the millions made by Sex.com went to Stephen Michael Cohen, a convicted con artist who stole rights to the domain, while Kremen struggled to draw female users to Match.com. A decades-long battle between entrepreneur and outlaw followed, each seeking to change the way people connect, and hoping to reap the profits and control that so often follow innovation.
The television project is still in its early stages, so no release date has been set. In the meantime, curious minds can dive into the eccentric, raunchy and eye-opening story of Kremen and Cohen with The Players Ball[*1] . An excerpt of the book is available on Rolling Stone[*2] .